SA in New Zealand

Jennings backs Thami for SA

2012-02-20 12:07
Thami Tsolekile (Gallo)

Cape Town – Thami Tsolekile is the best “short-term solution” as South Africa’s Test wicketkeeper should long-serving Mark Boucher retire, as he has indicated he might, later this year.

That is the view of outspoken former Proteas coach and Transvaal “Mean Machine” and South Africa gloveman in unofficial internationals, Ray Jennings.

Speaking in the March edition of Sports Illustrated magazine, SA U19 mastermind Jennings also said he feared “not enough has been done to get a replacement ready for Mark”.

Until the country found a ‘keeper who was actually better than him, he said, Boucher remained best option.

“Boucher has the experience and we all know what he can actually offer. He’s got fighting spirit and he will come right, as much as Graeme Smith has come right ... he’s got all the credentials to stay on top of his game until he retires.”

But Jennings did give a thumbs-up for Tsolekile, who has earned occasional prior Test caps, as a quick fix if necessary.

“He’s played good cricket in the last two or three years, and next to Mark he is the best gloveman in the country.”

“Jet” also believes the Cape Cobras’ Dane Vilas merits consideration: “Vilas is a hard-working cricketer who bats really well, and if he puts in some hard work and is monitored in the correct way, he can do the job down the line – but he’s not as sharp as he should be at the moment.”

He poured cold water on South Africa fast-tracking SA U19 wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock.

“For me, De Kock isn’t good enough to play for South Africa just yet – there are so many wicketkeepers who have gone through my hands who have shown that they have the talent, and in my opinion he’s not ready, so I’m not sure why his name keeps coming up.”

The story also quoted Proteas’ one-day captain and gloveman AB de Villiers as saying the possibility of him doing the job behind the stumps at Test level had not been discussed.

“With my back issues, I don’t think it’ll be the wisest thing to do. Test matches are a different game; it’s a long time to ‘keep.”

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