England tour: Same SA squad?

2012-06-12 15:40
Proteas (File)
Cape Town - South Africa’s squad for the eagerly-awaited three-Test tour of England from next month is unlikely to have provided Andrew Hudson’s national selection panel with too many headaches.

The convenor confirmed to Sport24 on Tuesday that the party would be revealed either on Wednesday or Thursday, and that it would be made up of 15 players.

That is the same tally who did duty in the last venture, a similar three-Test assignment in New Zealand at the end of the last domestic season, when Graeme Smith’s side earned a 1-0 victory - a result arguably more convincing than the margin suggests.

Under those circumstances, and considering that no South African first-class cricket of any significance has been played subsequently, it would be a surprise if the squad differed much, if at all, from that combination.

The Proteas have a pretty settled “first XI” for relatively standard pitch conditions, which currently comprises: Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.

The reserve pacemen are young thunderbolt Marchant de Lange and the left-arm variety provided by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, while Robin Peterson is the next-cab-off-the-rank spinner and JP Duminy the additional batsman.

Duminy and De Lange played in the drawn final Test against New Zealand at Wellington, when the Proteas decided to go all-pace and omit leg-spinner Imran Tahir, but mainly because veteran all-rounder Kallis was absent injured and the balance of the team was affected.

Left-handed Cape Cobras stroke-player Duminy deputised for Kallis at No 4 and promptly scored a century, illustrating the healthy depth in specialist batting.

There was talk a few months back of another wicketkeeper touring, as this could be Boucher’s swansong series and somebody new must get a feel for the set-up sooner rather than later, but at the same time De Villiers can offer assuring cover in an emergency even if he prefers not to wear the gloves in the extended format - maybe an additional ‘keeper will be placed in a state of suitable readiness back home (to the extent that would be possible in our winter) if suddenly required to fly over.

If the selectors do opt for precisely the same 15 who toured New Zealand much more recently, the squad would show six changes from the one which last visited England in 2008, when the Proteas earned a landmark 2-1 triumph in a four-Test series.

Out of the mix now are Ashwell Prince (vice-captain then), Paul Harris, Neil McKenzie, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini and Monde Zondeki.

These are South Africa’s Test dates in England: 1st Test:  July 19-23, The Oval; 2nd Test: August 2-6, Headingley; 3rd Test: August 16-20, Lord’s.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  cricket

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