- With plans to win the 2019 World Cup in England now fully underway, the
Proteas brains trust will be devoting 2018 to experimention in an attempt to
find their best combinations ahead of that tournament.
That much was confirmed by
convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, who on Thursday was made to explain the
decision to drop
Farhaan Behardien from the squad for the first three ODIs against India,
while the uncapped Khaya Zondo gets a chance.
On franchise form this season,
Behardien has out-performed Zondo, but Zondi explained that this is the time to
give opportunities to those players who are on the fringes of the ODI
Another man who will be looking
to prove himself before 2019 is spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
The 27-year-old has been head and
shoulders above the rest in this year's One Day Cup for the Titans.
After nine matches, he is the
tournament's leading wicket-taker with 27
at an average of just 14.84.
To put that into perspective, the
next highest wicket taker is Sisanda Magala with 17.
Imran Tahir, Shamsi's competition for the Proteas spot,
has taken 13 wickets at an average
On current form, it is hard to
ignore Shamsi, but Zondi says that Tahir remains South Africa's
Tahir is, after all, the second
ranked bowler in ODI cricket, but the 38-year-old has been nowhere near his
destructive best this domestic season.
"Anything can happen on the
day and Shamsi will definitely come into the picture, but I think for now Tahir
is still our number one spinner," Zondi said.
Another option is Test spinner Keshav Maharaj, who has long been
tipped to be a valuable member of the ODI squad.
With additions to the squad
expected after the first three ODIs against India, the left-armer might get his
chance then with Zondi confirming that there would be players rested and
"There are a couple of
spinners that we need to look at," Zondi said.
"Maharaj is another
candidate that is part and parcel of our plans. He bowls and he bats. We need
to look at what Shamsi can do but also see how we can bring in Maharaj."
The first ODI against India takes
place on February 1 in Durban.