Quick Single: Harare bears witness to Australian arrival
While South African speedsters Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel look to resume hostilities with Australia’s batsmen, the Proteas will be without seamer Vernon Philander who has been ruled out of the ODI tri-series that begins in Harare next Monday.
Steyn and Morkel return to South Africa’s one-day line-up having been rested from the recent series of one-day games against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
A nasty fish hook injury picked up by Dale Steyn while he was on a Chobe river expedition by Dale Steyn during the Proteas' series against Zimbabwe has not prevented him from taking his place in the tri-series squad.
Quick Single: Steyn's fishy injury
Philander, whose influence in the recent Test series between South Africa and Australia was far more significant with bat than ball, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and has been replaced in the squad by fiery quick Kyle Abbott.
When Australia defeated South Africa on their home turf to briefly reclaim the title of world’s top-ranked Test team earlier this year, Philander managed just seven wickets at more than 51 apiece but returned an average of 67.50 as a tough-to-remove lower-order batsman.
Philander courted controversy in the Proteas' last Test series, a 1-0 win in Sri Lanka that saw them reclaim the No.1 spot on the ICC rankings, when he accepted a charge of ball tampering and was fined after footage showed him picking at the seam.
Despite being ranked among the world’s top 10 Test bowlers in recent years (he is currently sixth on the ICC rankings), Philander has struggled to make an impact in the shorter form of the game and barely makes the top 100 ODI bowlers in the latest ICC rankings.
As a result, his chances of making South Africa’s squad for the 2015 ICC World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand beginning next February would appear to be dwindling.
The Proteas have also lost another fast bowler Beuran Hendricks to a back injury for the tri-series against Australia and Zimbabwe to be played in Harare, and his place has been taken by Mthokozisi Shezi although Steyn and Morkel seem likely to share the new ball.
Exciting young fast bowler Marchant de Lange, who played the third of the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe that concluded yesterday, having been recalled early from the recent South Africa A series in northern Australia, has been overlooked in the squad to be captained by AB de Villiers.
“Kyle (Abbott) impressed in the three matches he played against Zimbabwe while Mthokozisi, who also did well on his debut today, is a like-for-like replacement for Beuran (Hendricks),” Cricket South Africa (CSA) chairman of selectors Andrew Hudson said.
“It was also pleasing to see Marchant de Lange resume his international career so well after a lengthy injury break and he underlines the tremendous depth we have to our fast bowling resources at the moment.”
Young wicketkeeper and opening batsman Quinton de Kock was in fine form against Zimbabwe, equalling the record for the fewest number of innings to reach 1000 ODI runs, and collecting the man of the series award after scoring 185 runs in the three games.
The Proteas play their opening match of the six-game round-robin series against Australia next Wednesday, with the tournament final scheduled for Harare on Saturday, September 6.
South Africa squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla (vc), Kyle Abbott , Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn