World Cup 'trial' for Proteas

2014-08-16 22:11
AB de Villiers (AFP)

Bulawayo - South Africa expect to have settled on a 15-man squad for next year's Cricket World Cup by the end of their one-day series against Zimbabwe, which gets underway at Queens Sports Club on Sunday.

The Proteas have lost just two out of 32 ODIs to Zimbabwe, and captain AB de Villiers confirmed that they will use the three-match series to assess their back-up options ahead of the 50-over showpiece in Australia and New Zealand.

Fast bowlers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander have all been rested for the low-key encounter, giving Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange, Wayne Parnell and the uncapped Mthokozisi Shezi an opportunity to stake their claim for a place in a first-choice squad.

South Africa hope to settle on that squad before the triangular series against Zimbabwe and Australia which starts in Harare on August 25.

"This series is part of preparing to get to that perfect 15 eventually, and make sure we don't go to the World Cup with the wrong 15," De Villiers said.

"So we'll see some new faces in this series, and then I think with the triangular series we'll try and get our best 11 on the field and our best 15 in the squad."

With Jacques Kallis having retired since South Africa's last one-day engagement - a 2-1 series win in Sri Lanka last month - De Villiers confirmed that Faf du Plessis will take up the No 3 berth.

Zimbabwe have a similar intention to their opponents, and are likely to give international debuts to 19-year-old all-rounder Luke Jongwe and 24-year-old seamer Neville Madziva at some stage of the series.

Similarly off-spinner John Nyumbu and wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami will gain an opportunity to prove their worth in the one-day arena after impressing during the nine-wicket defeat to South Africa in a one-off Test.

"You can coach them in the nets and do all the training, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we hope that in this series we'll come out with a clear idea of whether they're up for it or not," coach Stephen Mangongo said.

Zimbabwe have a poor one-day record in recent times, having won just seven of their last 30 games in the format.

Last month they reached a new low when they drew 2-2 with Afghanistan in a home series.

"That tells you that there's something wrong there and we need to fix it," said Mangongo.

"This is part of the road map to fixing it and trying to be competitive against the top teams and able to thrash the Associates."


Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sean Williams, Richmond Mutumbami, Luke Jongwe, Prosper Utseya, John Nyumbu, Shingirai Masakadza, Malcolm Waller, Timycen Maruma, Neville Madziva.

South Africa: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi.

Read more on:    proteas  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket

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