Cape Town - Amidst the upheaval regarding Mark Boucher’s
sudden departure from the Test tour of England and retirement, the Proteas
potentially also find their resources on the batting front a little stretched
ahead of the first Test against England at The Oval from next Thursday.
Confirmation that one of their senior batsmen, AB de Villiers,
will keep wicket for at least the first of the three Tests almost certainly
means that the only other specialist batsman in the touring squad, JP Duminy,
will be slotted into the XI to ensure the necessary depth to the order.
It was widely acknowledged, even when veteran Boucher was
still in the frame, that the host nation boast an edge in the tail-end batting
department, and with several of the best Proteas batsmen rather short on
first-class cricket at present, they cannot afford to be too brittle at the
lower end of the order.
Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors, confirmed to
Sport24 on Wednesday that Thami Tsolekile would arrive in London on Thursday
morning, restoring the availability of two glovemen.
But his best chance of adding to his tally of three Test
caps (last one as far back as December 2004 at Port Elizabeth, also against
England) is only if it is decided after The Oval that the cares of ‘keeping in
the extended format are too much for key run-maker De Villiers.
An additional concern for the South African camp, however,
as they prepare for a final three-day warm-up fixture against Kent at
Canterbury from Friday, is the wait for results of an MRI scan done on the
troublesome foot of opening batsman Alviro Petersen.
Petersen did not play against Somerset in the first tour
match and said on Twitter on Tuesday: “Finished my scan, and will only have the
results tomorrow morning. Off to Canterbury soon.”
Hudson confirmed that the selectors “will make decisions if
we need to” in terms of strengthening the party only after learning of
Petersen’s status – and also establishing further developments on the back
injury of reserve paceman Marchant de Lange.
The South Africa ‘A’ side has just come off an unofficial
two-Test series against their Sri Lankan counterparts in Durban, which the
local side won 1-0, and the top four batsmen in their lineup for the drawn
second encounter were Reeza Hendricks, Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl and Faf du
The reasonably experienced Eagles left-hander Elgar, 25,
struck 171 in the first “Test” and would probably be the favourite should an
opening batsman specifically be required if Petersen’s status looks
But after the Boucher hammer-blow, all in the Proteas camp
will be praying for little further tumult.
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