Proteas to keep backing Stiaan

Stiaan van Zyl (Gallo Images)
Stiaan van Zyl (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Struggling opener Stiaan van Zyl is set to keep his place at the top of the Proteas batting order for the third Test against England in Johannesburg. 

It has been a nightmare run for the 28-year-old, who has scored 93 runs in his last eight Test innings at an average of 11.63 since the start of the Indian series in November last year. 

There is no doubting Van Zyl's ability - he averages over 43 in first class cricket - but the idea that he is out of his depth opening the innings is strengthened with each failure. 

But Van Zyl, for now, has the support of convener of selectors Linda Zondi.

"It is important for us to back certain players, especially when we know their capabilities," Zondi told Sport24.

"We are going to see how he does in the third Test, and based on the flexibility that we have in South Africa we can call on any player."

That suggests that, if Van Zyl fails again, there could be a change going into the fourth Test in Pretoria.

The logical replacement for Van Zyl would be Highveld Lions veteran Stephen Cook, who has scored centuries in each of his last two Sunfoil Series matches.

"Stephen Cook is knocking at the door, he can definitely be a part of the Proteas setup," said Zondi.

"But it is important to back the players that we have.

"We have given Stiaan van Zyl only two matches on home soil. In India, most of our batsmen struggled.

"In Durban he looked good in the second innings and in Cape Town he ran himself out, so I think let's have a look at what Stiaan can offer in the third Test, and then one can take it from there."

The Proteas go into the third Test 1-0 down in the four-match series.

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