Roelof's big chance to impress
Roelof van der Merwe (File)
Johannesburg - Roelof van der Merwe, who has been one of the standout players in England's domestic T20 competition, has the opportunity to prove his worth to the Proteas' selectors during South Africa A's triangular limited overs series in Zimbabwe.
South Africa A play their first match against Australia A on Thursday and will face both of their opponents twice before hopefully qualifying for the final on Friday next week.
Australia A contains several players with senior international experience while the Zimbabwe XI is very close to being a full strength combination.
The tour is a great window of opportunity for these aspiring Proteas. Many of them have represented the Proteas before but none of them were in the squad which went to the recent World Cup and this is their opportunity to put pressure on the incumbents.
Van der Merwe averaged more than 56 with the bat during his brief spell with Somerset this month, with a strike rate of 169 which was second only to Marcus Trescothick (175) for players who scored at least 150 runs.
As a bowler, his economy rate of 7.75 was reasonable for this format of the game as well.
Van der Merwe has the advantage of being the only specialist spinner in the squad following an injury to Dean Elgar although part-timers Justin Ontong and Jonathan Vandiar will, no doubt, also be called upon to bowl.
This is a perfect opportunity for Van der Merwe to get his name back into contention for full international selection while captain Jacques Rudolph, Loots Bosman and young guns Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, Vandiar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld also need to deliver on their early promise. South Africa A may have a youthful bias but it is a the direct route to the Proteas for those who perform well against the opposition.
South Africa A squad: Jacques Rudolph (Nashua Titans, capt), Craig Alexander (bizhub Highveld Lions), Loots Bosman (Sunfoil Dolphins), Rory Kleinveldt (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Heino Kuhn (Nashua Titans), Ethy Mbhalati (Nashua Titans), David Miller (Sunfoil Dolphins), Justin Ontong (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Rilee Rossouw (Chevrolet Knights), Rusty Theron (Chevrolet Warriors), Roelof van der Merwe (Nashua Titans), Jonathan Vandiar (bizhub Highveld Lions), Vaughn van Jaarsveld (Sunfoil Dolphins).
Fixtures: June 30: SA v Australia A; July 2: SA v Zimbabwe XI; July 5: SA v Australia A; July 6: SA v Zimbabwe XI; July 8: Final