The embattled Hashim Amla, who seems in no way guaranteed of a World Cup spot, received a welcome dose of endorsements from two former Proteas World Cup stars.
An extended run of poor form has seen many question whether the 36-year-old stalwart deserves a ticket to the UK for the showpiece event starting at the end of next month.
Cricket South Africa will announce the 15-man squad for the tournament on Thursday.
While Amla did enjoy a decent ODI series against Pakistan, he struggled in the Test series loss to Sri Lanka and didn’t feature in the ODIs against the islanders – initially because he was dropped and then because he had to attend to his critically ill father.
His recent return to the Cape Cobras for the domestic T20 challenge has yielded a pitiful 61 runs from five innings.
But Lance Klusener, South Africa’s Man-of-the-Tournament at the 1999 World Cup, believes there shouldn’t even be a debate over Amla’s inclusion.
“It’s really simple, he has to go to England,” the former all-rounder told Netwerk24.
“He’s been to the country on various occasions throughout his career and is intimately familiar with those conditions.”
Interestingly, Amla has indeed tasted a lot of success in England.
His highest (and South Africa’s) Test score of 311 not out was crafted at The Oval in London, while his best effort in ODIs – a cracking 150 off just 124 deliveries – was scored in Southampton.
Andrew Hall, who was the Proteas’ joint leading wicket-taker at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, agrees.
“It counts in Hashim’s favour that he knows English conditions well,” he told the Afrikaans website.
“No-one should be quibbling, he needs to be selected.”