Cricket World Cup 2011
Pro20 exclusion for Proteas
Cape Town – A number of Proteas who desperately need match practice ahead of next month’s World Cup will not be allowed to play in the local Pro20 cricket series.
The management of the national team decided this week that none of the 15 players that were included in South Africa’s squad for the World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are allowed to play in the blitz tournament.
The series starts at Newlands on Friday night when the Titans meet the Cape Cobras.
South Africa’s squad will only convene in Johannesburg on 8 February before the team leaves for India.
Legspinner Imran Tahir is certainly a player that could have benefited from match practice in the Pro20-series. The Proteas’ newest player has only played one one-day and one four-day game for the Dolphins since the beginning of December.
The Proteas have decided to wrap him in cotton wool, and he did not play in the one-day series against India at all.
Proteas team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee said on Wednesday that they did not want to take any risks with the players’ fitness.
“What will people say if one of our key players are hurt in a local game just before the World Cup? An intensive, seven-week tournament lies in wait and we prefer to be careful,” said Moosajee.
Tahir is not the only player that could have benefited from a few blitz games.
AB de Villiers, Colin Ingram and Graeme Smith all struggled with the bat in the recent series against India. Twenty20 cricket may be a different format, but the matches would have offered struggling players a valuable chance to regain their confidence.
Ingram, in particular, needs a boost. He lost his place in the team after the third game in the series and it appears as if Faf du Plessis and Morné van Wyk are now ahead of him in the queue.
Wayne Parnell, one of the Proteas’ two left-handed seamers, is another player with a critical role to play for the Proteas in the coming series, but is not on form. He has struggled to recapture his form of 2009 since recovering from a groin injury.
One of Parnell’s jobs in the team is to bowl during the so-called power plays and final overs.
The Proteas certainly have a shortage of seamers that can perform that role after Charl Langeveldt and Rusty Theron failed to make the squad.