That’s one of the questions that emerged after Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) announced its latest list of nationally contracted players.
The Highveld Lions prodigy was undoubtedly rewarded for a brilliant one-day series against India in December, where he scored three consecutive tons, but speculation over his elevation into the Test side grew because Thami Tsolekile was left off the list.
Tsolekile is the back-up gloveman for the series against Australia, but his omission from the list is an appropriately sad conclusion to a saga where the Highveld Lions skipper was the undeserving pawn in a messy game of political football.
As the Proteas continue to ponder whether they need to fill their No 7 spot with either an extra batsman or a bowling all-rounder, Dean Elgar remains a realistic contender to feature in the second Test.
He’ll have extra incentive to perform after also being left out.
Proteas captain Graeme Smith was coy yesterday about the potential impact of the announcement in the middle of a series.
“I guess my role is to keep them focused on what’s important and that’s today. If they get the opportunity to play, it’s a chance for them to put that right and that they’re worthy. It’s another curve-ball that’s difficult to deal with but we just need to find a way.”
CSA’s board approved a cut from 22 to 17 players eligible for national contracts, with eight top members qualifying for a two-year agreement.
Jacques Kallis also received a “special final one-year contract”.
“We’re well aware of his personal desire to play in next year’s World Cup. We want to help him,” said CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat.