The national selectors on Thursday decided to back pedigree and experience by including veteran Hashim Amla in the Proteas’ World Cup squad for the showpiece tournament in England.
The 36-year-old’s participation had been in doubt following an iffy run of form in domestic cricket for the Cape Cobras after he had been granted compassionate leave earlier to attend to his ill father.
In fact, Amla has only scored 61 runs in his last five innings, but received widespread support from various former national stalwarts, who opined that his overall experience and exposure to English conditions made him a must-have inclusion.
While selection convener, Linda Zondi, noted that the 15-man group exhibited a clear mix between youth and experience, he was quite keen to highlight that three men – Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Aiden Markram – previously starred at Under-19 World Cups.
That suggests that those men are considered the future bedrock of this team.
Meanwhile, only Quinton de Kock has been selected as a specialist wicketkeeper.
“We felt that when we looked at our mix of batsmen and bowlers, the candidates that could’ve staked a claim to be a reserve keeper didn’t perform up to standard,” said Zondi.
“That’s why we went with David Miller. Supporters will remember that we used him at times in that role during the domestic season.”
Tabraiz Shamsi’s inclusion means South Africa will have two attacking wrist spinners at the tournament, while Anrich Nortje completes a meteoric rise despite having only appeared in four ODIs.
He and Lungi Ngidi are still in the rehab phase of their respective injuries, but will be fit for the showpiece.
Proteas World Cup squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Anrich Nortje, Aiden Markram.