Botha backs SA's young guns
Johannesburg - South Africa's stand-in T20 captain, Johan Botha, says the one-off match against India at the Wanderers on Friday will provide a great opportunity for the squad's younger players to send a message to the selectors.
The Proteas' squad for the T20 International, held in honour of veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, includes some new faces in debutants Dane Vilas and Farhaan Behardien.
“This gives us a chance to put in the young guys who have done well domestically,” Botha said on Thursday.
“It's not a bad thing to have young faces in the team.”
Botha said the match would give selectors an indication of which players would be ready for the T20 World Cup later this year.
“You don't want to put too much pressure on a young player, but if one or two of them step up tomorrow, they will go a long way to making it into the final 15-man squad for Sri Lanka,” the skipper said.
The Proteas are fresh off a tour of New Zealand where they won three series in all formats of the game.
Kallis is the only member of the Test squad, which secured a 1-0 win after the final match ended in a draw in Wellington on Tuesday, who will feature in the game against India.
Botha, who takes the reigns in the absence of AB de Villiers, said the key to victory would be thinking ahead.
"A couple of guys have said to me in the past to just trust my decision," he said.
"A lot of times guys are running all over the field and guys give you some information, and you often go with someone else, after which you think you shouldn't have.
“You just have to stay one step ahead of the game.”
South Africa will be without strike bowlers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, who are being rested after the demands of the six-week New Zealand tour.
“There's some world class players in our side sitting out, but credit to the selectors for putting in these young guys,” Botha said.
“For a big game like this, for those guys it will be a great place to start against a world class Indian team.”
The spinner said there would be much to take out of the clash, despite it being a once-off encounter.
“We've got a few games until the World Cup, so every T20 game is important and you can learn in every game.
“They beat us a year-and-a-half ago at Moses Mabhida Stadium, so hopefully we can make it one-all and just play well for Jacques.
"He's been an awesome servant to the game and a legend for South African cricket.”
Proceeds from the match will go to the Jacques Kallis Foundation, which recognises and develops young cricket talent by awarding scholarships.
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