South Africa Announce ODI Squad To Tour Sri Lanka
South Africa have released their ODI squad to tour Sri Lanka in July and August. This marks the beginning of a new era for South African cricket as they start life without AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel. Sri Lanka have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. A few days ago they were involved in a ball-tampering scandal in their ongoing Test match against the West Indies. Prior to that, the Al Jazeera documentary, “Cricket’s Match Fixers”, levelled numerous allegations of illegal pitch doctoring in Galle. Nevertheless, the series is set to go ahead as planned and it is expected to be a close affair. Although South Africa are third in the rankings, with Sri Lanka down at seven, home conditions are expected to play a significant advantage.
They are set to play five ODIs, beginning on the 29th July after the two Test series. Following this, there will be a solitary T20I match at Colombo. South Africa have rested Imran Tahir for this tour, giving selectors the opportunity to trial more frontline spinners ahead of the 2019 World Cup. This means that Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj have a great opportunity to impress on this tour.
Life Without AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel
The cricketing world was shocked by AB de Villiers sudden retirement in May. This has had huge ramifications for South Africa’s international side who have often relied on de Villiers to provide consistent runs in their middle order. Although this is a huge blow for the Proteas, it now means that there is a spot in their middle order up for grabs. Wicketkeeper batsman Heinrich Klaasen could fill this void neatly. Klaasen has proven that he is a hard hitter of the ball and capable of changing the game’s dynamic. In many ways he is a similar option to de Villiers and would be the like-for-like replacement. Alternatively, Aiden Markram could stake a claim for the spot. Markram has been a phenomenal start to his Test career, averaging 55 and recently hitting a 152 and a 143 against Australia. His ODI performances have been less convincing, but he has only had seven ODIs so far.
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While the batting seems less formidable than before, South Africa’s fast bowling unit is as threatening as ever – even with the departure of Morne Morkel. Kagiso Rabada is certainly one of the best fast bowlers around and he will be supported by Lungi Ngidi. The latter rose to prominence after a stellar series against India and then carried his form into the IPL. This pace duo is perhaps the best new-ball fast bowling attack in world cricket. Junior Dala will be expected to be a third seamer along with Andile Phehlukwayo. They will be confident that this pace attack can serve them well in the World Cup. The future is bright for South Africa’s bowling unit.
Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi
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