Cape Town – Big-hitting sensation Richard Levi must extend
his stay in New Zealand by being added to the Proteas’ one-day international
party, says former national seam bowler and selector Craig Matthews.
“There is nothing procedurally to prevent them (from adding
one name to the currently 14-strong SA ODI squad),” Matthews told Sport24 on
“I’d be shocked and very surprised if there hasn’t been, or
very soon will be, a chat between Gary (Kirsten) and Hudders (selection
convenor Andrew Hudson) agreeing that Levi should stay on after the T20s – even
if it is just to give New Zealand’s bowlers more sleepless nights.”
Levi made weekend headlines worldwide for his multiple
record-smashing innings of 117 not out off 51 balls in the second T20
international against the Black Caps at Hamilton.
Former national captain Kepler Wessels has already added his
own weight to the “extend Levi’s ticket” campaign in a column on the SuperSport
“Amazingly there seems to be doubt in some quarters whether
Levi should be playing in the one-day internationals as well,” Wessels said.
“The answer is simple: of course he must be added ... and he
should open in all of them. Why not use him and expose him to the 50-over game
as well? A decision not to do so will be selection madness.”
Matthews, meanwhile, is well-qualified to make comparisons
between Levi and Herschelle Gibbs, with the former now considered a perfect fit
into Gibbs’s long-time slot at the top of the South African limited-overs
The fast-medium bowler was a senior member of the Western
Province side into which a young Gibbs acclimatised in the early 1990s.
“There are obviously similarities in the rate they score
at,” Matthews said. “I would say Levi shows a more ‘brutal’ approach; a fairly
simple way of going about his business.
“Herschelle was classy in terms of choosing where he wanted
to hit the ball and in the way he mixed up his (assault on the bowling) ... one
minute he might be fetching the ball outside off-stump and flicking it past
fine leg, the next he’s advanced down the track and gone over long-off.
“They’re equally effective in their own ways: Levi all about
pure power and Gibbs more with timing as an important factor.
“Richard has drawn up a game-plan that works for him. He’s a
strong boy who muscles the ball over the ropes quite easily.
“It was one of the most effective innings I’ve ever seen, in
terms of the way he was just able to keep going, keep going ... I think it was
the kind of innings South African cricket needed, introducing a new kid on the
block and our winning the game so crushingly.”
*Follow our chief
writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing