Nice one, selectors, you got SA squad pretty much dead right
No surprises as Linda Zondi and his selection panel are the same solidly sensible people they always have been
Reeza Hendricks and Chris Morris are the only players who might feel aggrieved at not being part of SA’s World Cup squad, while the inclusion of Dwaine Pretorius is the closest thing to a surprise.
But, more than anything, the 15 names announced in Johannesburg on Thursday offered further proof that Linda Zondi and his selection panel are the same solidly sensible people they always have been.
Hendricks lost out to Hashim Amla, who was picked despite spending much of the last two months away from the game due to his father’s serious illness.
Amla’s recent form has been a concern, and the fact is he has passed 50 just three times in 13 Test and one-day international innings this year. But two of those better scores – 108 not out and 59 – came in his most recent series in the relevant format, against Pakistan in January.
Hendricks, as talented and exciting as he is, has struggled to find consistency. In his ODIs this year, against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, he has made 45, five, 83 not out, two, 34, one, 29, four and eight.Morris might have been up for an allrounder’s berth, but he has not played in SA’s last 21 ODIs. As Andile Phehlukwayo is by some distance SA’s preeminent allrounder, Morris was vying for a place with Pretorius – who has batted only once and taken wickets just once in his five ODIs in 2019. There is, thus, little to choose between Morris and Pretorius in terms of the available and current stats. Morris is the purer talent of the two, but that doesn’t mean much when your last ODI was in February 2018.For the rest, Faf du Plessis’ squad is as it was expected to be. If Zondi and his colleagues were more daring they might have given the outrageously gifted Sinethemba Qeshile a go instead of, say, Pretorius. Instead, David Miller will serve as wicketkeeping backup for Quinton de Kock.
But the bigger picture is that SA have picked their best available squad. They’ve got that right. Now for the rest.• SA’s World Cup squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortjé, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.