Rilee may miss out on WACA chance

2016-10-18 13:15
Rilee Rossouw (Gallo).

Cape Town - Rilee Rossouw was named man of the series in the recent 5-0 ODI whitewash over Australia, but he may have to wait a little while longer for his Test debut. 

Having scored 311 runs at an average of 77.75 in the 50-over format, Rossouw dazzled with a hard-hitting yet technically astute display of batting throughout the series. 

It was enough to get many (myself included) excited.

But after listening to Proteas coach Russell Domingo and captain Faf du Plessis speak upon the team's departure to Australia on Sunday, it looks like the highly-rated lefty may have to sit tight for now. 

It appears that there simply is not room in the South African top order for the first Test at the WACA. 

According to Domingo, all of the tough selection decisions will come from the bowling department. 

"The batting line-up is pretty established, so I suppose the big thing will be whether to play four seamers or a spinner," Domingo said from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg.

That statement suggests no unnecessary tinkering to the top order. 

Of course, AB de Villiers is sidelined with an elbow injury, but the rest of the available names are familiar. 

Dean Elgar has returned from the ankle injury that ruled him out of the second Test against New Zealand while Stephen Cook looks set to keep his place alongside him at the top of the order. 

"Looking towards the Test team now there are obviously a few guys coming back," Du Plessis said.

"Cookie and Dean come back into the team ... they've been playing some cricket as well but it's just as important for them to get some form leading into that first Test match."

Then Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma will take up their places in the middle order while JP Duminy is set to be a hugely important player for the Proteas should they opt for a four-pronged seam attack in that series opener on what is historically a quick, bouncy wicket. 

Rossouw's flexibility in the ODI series - he opened the batting and then moved into the middle order - makes him an option up front, but Elgar's slow left-arm spin could give him an extra role. 

The lack of left-handers at the top of the Australian order was a big reason in the selectors' decision to leave Dane Piedt out of this squad. 

Domingo has been vocal on wanting to turn the ball away from the right-handers - something that Keshav Maharaj does with his orthodox delivery while Tabraiz Shamsi has the variation to turn it both ways. 

But, if the Proteas go all-seam in Perth, then Elgar may provide that option even if he is part-time. 

Whichever way you look at it, a Rossouw call-up is beginning to look more and more unlikely. 

"If I'm included it will be a fantastic day for me, but if I'm not then it's not the end if the world," Rossouw said after the final ODI in Cape Town.

"I'll wait for my opportunity."

Read more on:    proteas  |  rilee rossouw  |  cricket


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