South Africa kept faith in Hashim Amla and gambled on Aiden Markram as both made the Cricket World Cup squad on Thursday. There were doubts over the inclusion of 36-year-old Amla after a dip in form and his absence for recent games because his father was ill. Fellow batsman Markram was seemingly out of the reckoning for the one-day team until a run of outstanding domestic form led to a public clamor to include the 24-year-old opener.
This year will likely be the last chance for veterans Amla, Faf du Plessis, who captains the team, and Dale Steyn to win the World Cup. JP Duminy and Imran Tahir have already said they will retire from ODIs after the tournament. Those five will be playing at their third World Cup. The most noticeable absentees are batsman Reeza Hendricks and allrounder Chris Morris.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius were given the allrounder slots ahead of Morris. Fast bowler Anrich Nortje made the cut with just four ODIs of experience and after making his debut last month. Nortje will be part of a strong pace attack that also includes Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
Source: ICC / Facebook
Players to look forward to
Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock’s fearless striking and handy glovework has earned him comparisons to greats of the game like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher, early in his career. By 21, de Kock shared the record for the most successive ODI centuries – three – before it was bettered by Kumar Sangakkara. A year later, he had established himself in all three formats. He is currently the only specialist keeper in the African Squad.
Faf du Plessis
Classy, composed and a fine crafter of innings’, Faf du Plessis emerged as one of South Africa’s most consistent batsmen in the post-Jacques Kallis era. It took du Plessis a little longer to repeat those feats in limited-overs. In his 51st ODI, he finally scored his first century in the format, against Australia in a triangular series in Harare in August 2014, but then the floodgates opened. Two more hundreds came in that series, which South Africa won. Du Plessis is strong on the front foot, has impeccable defences and enjoys spending time at the crease. A natural leader, du Plessis was put in charge of the T20 side in February 2013 and formed part of the senior core in other formats. Du Plessis took good form into the 2015 World Cup, after becoming the second South African to score a T20I century after Richard Levi, in February that year.
A strapping, genuine quick who regularly bowls in the 140-150kph range, Kagiso Rabada is the most exciting talent to emerge from South Africa in the post No.1 Test ranking era. Before he turned 21, Rabada had already established himself as a potential leader of the attack. Rabada thrust himself into the international spotlight at the 2014 Under-19 World Cup, where he took 6 for 25 against Australia in the semi-final. South Africa went on to win the title – their first – and Rabada finished as their highest wicket-taker. Since then, he has been an important part of the South African squad giving them the breaks needed at important junctions.
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