Pietermaritzburg - Proteas coach Russell Domingo could face a selection dilemma ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in India later this month.
With the Proteas on a winning roll after beating England 2-0, the return of Dale Steyn plus whether to open the innings with the Quinton de Kock/Hashim Amla, Amla/AB de Villiers or De Kock/De Villiers combinations causes some headaches.
“We have an idea to what our best combinations are and want to give everyone in the squad at least one game in the three-match series we have against Australia starting at Kingsmead on Friday,” said Domingo.
“Winning is important and it helps to have that in the bank when we arrive for the World Cup.”
As to whether all three top-order batsmen would play in the same side, Domingo could not give an answer and passed the baton onto the selectors.
“All three are world class and have proven themselves in the sub-continent but ultimately the selectors have the final say. Having all three in the side is the perfect ideal but then we have to look at the balance of the side as to who fits in where.”
And that could be interesting. Steyn coming back means that possibly him, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris would be the four-pronged pace attack with Imran Tahir as the spinner. That’s five frontline bowlers meaning they would all have to bowl their four overs and would there still be space for JP Duminy as a possible second spinning option? Players such as David Miller, Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese could be the expendables but as Domingo implied, the selectors will have the final word.
As for the upcoming series against Australia, Domingo appreciated conditions would be vastly different to what lies in wait in India but he was happy with whatever surface was produced in Durban, the Wanderers and Newlands.
“All these wickets are different but no, I have not spoken to any groundsmen. They must do what they do best but for starters, Durban is usually a good one-day wicket with some pace and bounce,” he said.
Domingo was encouraged at having Steyn back in the ranks and wanted him to get maximum game time against Australia.
“Dale hasn’t played for a while and he is fit, energised and hungry,” he said.
“He wants to win the World Cup and with his energy levels up, he is more than raring to go.”
The only cloud over the camp is the Aaron Phangiso saga regarding his action which has been declared illegal. Tests done last week revealed his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees of tolerance permitted and he is in a race against time ahead of the World Cup.
He definitely will not be considered for the first two T20 matches against Australia (Friday and Sunday) and tests will be done again next Monday.
“Aaron will have five or six sessions before Monday’s tests and we can only hope he deemed okay as we leave for the World Cup on Thursday,” said Domingo. “If he fails again, there is someone on standby.”
Ahead of the World Cup and their opening game against England on March 18, the Proteas have two warm-up matches, the first being the day after they arrive.
Friday’s match is telecast on SS2 from 5.45 pm and is preceded by the Proteas women taking on the West Indies women at 1.15 pm. The sold out signs went up at Kingsmead on Monday this week.