Miller, Behardien fighting for T20 spot

2016-02-18 08:31
Farhaan Behardien (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Farhaan Behardien and David Miller could have done with getting some runs under the belt when they turned out for South Africa 'A' against England in Paarl on Wednesday night. 

Unfortunately for the Proteas pair, it was not to be. 

Miller carded 10 in 8 balls while Behardien made just 4 off 7 as SA 'A' fell well short of the 202 set by the visitors. 

While Behardien played in all five of the Proteas' ODIs in their 3-2 series win over England, Miller played in none. 

But despite Behardien's constant presence in the 50-over format, he can't seem to shake off his critics. 

While scores of 4*, 23*, 38 and 13 in the series didn't tell much of a story, eyebrows were raised when Behardien moved up to No 6 in the Proteas order, effectively making him a specialist batsman. 

The feeling among critics was largely that if Behardien was not going to bowl then it would make more sense to play Miller or Rilee Rossow as a specialist batter. 

Having the Behardien option with the ball, it seems, gives him the edge over his peers and in the third ODI in Centurion he bowled just two overs in what was his only contribution in the match. 

It was a series again where Behardien did not enhance or damage his reputation and he is likely to be in the ODI set-up once more when the Proteas leave for the West Indies for a triangular tournament with Australia in June. 

But just how, or if, Behardien fits into the T20 side at next month's ICC World Twenty20 in India remains to be seen. 

"He takes a lot of flak, Farhaan. But his record over the last year for us has been really good," said coach Russell Domingo.

"He’s got so many not outs and when you’re batting at six and seven that’s important."

Domingo added that Behardien was a real bowling option on the Indian wickets. 

"He did reasonably well for us in the 50-over format in India with the ball and also in the T20s," said the coach.

Miller, meanwhile, will be desperate to get some game time in the coming two-match T20 series against England and then the three-match series against Australia. 

Since having scored runs aplenty at the 2015 World Cup, he has struggled. 

Miller has not passed 50 in 16 ODI innings, and as a result he lost his place for the entire England series. 

The aggressive left-hander will be pushing hard to be a part of the Proteas' plans going into the World T20 while his IPL pedigree speaks volumes of his ability to excel on Indian wickets. 

But the word from Domingo this week was that space in the top-order would be limited, and a big name would likely have to miss out as the Proteas seek to bulk up on their bowling stocks. 

Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers are likely to occupy the top four while JP Duminy is expected to be backed too. 

That could leave Behardien, Rilee Rossouw and Miller all fighting for one position. 

"It’s difficult. There is going to be someone who is unlucky," said Domingo.

"My son feels he should be playing in the U-13 As, he’s playing in the U-13 Bs. There’s always somebody unlucky whenever you select a side."

The Proteas take on England in the first of two T20Is at Newlands on Friday night.


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