THE ‘HIDDEN CLUE’
As far as the series is concerned, a 113-run victory against Sri Lanka in the second ODI represents an excellent day’s work.
It secured a 2-0 series lead with three matches to play and opened up the possibility of even further experimentation before the conclusion of the series.
There will be questions asked in the de-brief about the Proteas’ inability to capitalise on the flying start provided by Quinton de Kock and the disappointment of a total of 250 when 350 looked par for the course, but never mind that.
Winning is always important but there are other things at stake.
Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius were given the opportunity to go head-to-head for the ‘batting all-rounder’ spot in the first ODI and, like many of the best-laid plans, it went wrong when neither had the chance to bat.
The selectors would like to take both. There is a distinct possibility that they may like to include Chris Morris, too. But there is barely space for three all rounders with Andile Phehlukwayo a certaintly, so how could four fit into the squad?
By not taking a reserve wicket-keeper.
Titans coach Mark Boucher joined the squad for a low-key practise session two days before the Centurion ODI and worked with? Not Quinton de Kock. He spent time attempting to shave the (very) rough edges off the (extremely) part-time glovework of David Miller and (slightly less part time) Rassie van der Dussen.
It was a strong indicator that the selectors were considering creating an ‘extra’ place in the 15-man World Cup squad by not including a specialist reserve ‘keeper.
The fact that Miller took the gloves for the last few overs during the second ODI confirmed that Heinrich Klaasen’s World Cup dreams were over.
But maybe not.
Despite all ten teams naming squads of 15, injury replacements are permitted. Klaasen would only be 12-hours away from the squad should De Kock become injured or unwell, and even less should he be strategically placed in the UK on a ‘working holiday’.
It seems certain that SA’s selectors have opened an extra window for themselves. If it is not to include an extra all rounder, it may well be in the desperate hope that Hashim Amla might rediscover his best form, one final time.
Or that that they might avoid the repercussions of being the men who dropped a legend.
This article was published by The South African,
and written by Alexis Haden.
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