Proteas in England

SA bank on Alviro all-clear

2012-07-11 11:21
Alviro Petersen (Gallo)
Cape Town - Amidst the upheaval regarding Mark Boucher’s sudden departure from the Test tour of England and retirement, the Proteas potentially also find their resources on the batting front a little stretched ahead of the first Test against England at The Oval from next Thursday.

Confirmation that one of their senior batsmen, AB de Villiers, will keep wicket for at least the first of the three Tests almost certainly means that the only other specialist batsman in the touring squad, JP Duminy, will be slotted into the XI to ensure the necessary depth to the order.

It was widely acknowledged, even when veteran Boucher was still in the frame, that the host nation boast an edge in the tail-end batting department, and with several of the best Proteas batsmen rather short on first-class cricket at present, they cannot afford to be too brittle at the lower end of the order.

Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors, confirmed to Sport24 on Wednesday that Thami Tsolekile would arrive in London on Thursday morning, restoring the availability of two glovemen.

But his best chance of adding to his tally of three Test caps (last one as far back as December 2004 at Port Elizabeth, also against England) is only if it is decided after The Oval that the cares of ‘keeping in the extended format are too much for key run-maker De Villiers.

An additional concern for the South African camp, however, as they prepare for a final three-day warm-up fixture against Kent at Canterbury from Friday, is the wait for results of an MRI scan done on the troublesome foot of opening batsman Alviro Petersen.

Petersen did not play against Somerset in the first tour match and said on Twitter on Tuesday: “Finished my scan, and will only have the results tomorrow morning. Off to Canterbury soon.”

Hudson confirmed that the selectors “will make decisions if we need to” in terms of strengthening the party only after learning of Petersen’s status – and also establishing further developments on the back injury of reserve paceman Marchant de Lange.

The South Africa ‘A’ side has just come off an unofficial two-Test series against their Sri Lankan counterparts in Durban, which the local side won 1-0, and the top four batsmen in their lineup for the drawn second encounter were Reeza Hendricks, Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl and Faf du Plessis.

The reasonably experienced Eagles left-hander Elgar, 25, struck 171 in the first “Test” and would probably be the favourite should an opening batsman specifically be required if Petersen’s status looks problematic.

But after the Boucher hammer-blow, all in the Proteas camp will be praying for little further tumult.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  alviro petersen  |  mark boucher  |  cricket


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