South Africa coach Ottis Gibson said as part of the Cricket South Africa’s Vision 2019, senior players would be given a rest in favour of some rookies for the T20I series against Sri Lanka ahead of the World Cup.
South Africa will meet Sri Lanka for a three-match series, starting March 19 in Cape Town.
“The first thing is that some of the guys are going to be given a break. Lungi [Ngidi] picked up a slight niggle in the last game. I don’t think it’s too serious, but he’s going to be given a break. After this first game, KG [Kagiso Rabada] is going to be given a break, and Faf [du Plessis] and Quinton [de Kock] as well, who play all formats,” ICC quoted Gibson, as saying.
“We’ve brought in [Lutho] Sipamla. We’ve looked at him in the Pakistan series; he looks a really good prospect. So we’re going to try and give him some more game time. We’ve always used the T20s as an opportunity to expose new talent, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do with Sipamla and [Sinethemba] Qeshile. Hopefully, the guys that are left here, there’s still an opportunity for them to get some form,” he said.
South Africa recently experimented some new players in the concluded ODI series. Anrich Nortje, who replaced Dale Steyn in four of the five ODIs, impressed with his eight wickets at 18.75. Rassie van der Dussen seemed comfortable in the middle order as he notched up a fifty and finished off successful chases.
“The one-day series gave us a good look at some players. Obviously, the result is quite pleasing going into the World Cup. We saw Nortje come in and do really well. We’ve seen Rassie now for a while. We would have liked some more performances from other players. The likes of Reeza, I’m sure would have liked to have made some more runs,” Gibson said.
“He’s [Nortje] come in and done quite well. He’ll surely be in the conversation at the moment. Even yesterday, in the last game of the series, he bowled really well. And he complements the other bowlers. One of the things that we’ve always looked at when we’re putting together a bowling unit is guys who can get wickets in the middle overs. Him bowling first change with his pace in those middle overs, he is surely a wicket-taker,” he added.
Gibson further said that a player’s form would be the primary criteria for the World Cup. However, stressed that South Africa may have to go with reputation, hinting Hashim Amla’s selection as he has not played any international cricket in a month to be with his ailing father.
“First and foremost, you want to pick on form. If there’s no form to go with, then you have to look at reputation I guess. That’s something that we’ll have to look at. With regards to Hash, he’s not played any cricket for a long time now because of his family situation. So when we sit down to discuss the team that will surely be one of the things we have to consider,” Gibson said.