Tahir and van Wyk picked for World Cup
Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born legspinner, is the only uncapped player named in South Africa's World Cup squad. Reserve wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk is a surprise inclusion in the final XV while there is no room for David Miller.
Tahir's inclusion means that South Africa have five spin options in their bowling attack, a sign that they have moulded the squad to suit subcontinent conditions. Tahir only became eligible to play South Africa on New Year's Day and has yet to make his debut but his inexperience at international level is not bothering the selectors. "It is not a worry that Tahir has not played an ODI yet," Andrew Hudson, convenor of selectors, said. "The conditions in South Africa have been more suited to seam bowling and his record in domestic cricket both in South Africa and England speaks for itself. We know exactly what he offers us."
Faf du Plessis, the allrounder who made his debut against India on Tuesday night, is the other legspinner in the squad, giving South Africa an option they have not had at a World Cup before. du Plessis scored a classy 60 in his first match, although he struggled with cramp and received treatment on his forearm. He spent some time off the field but later returned and bowled an over. "I am very happy with Faf du Plessis' debut and form. He gives us a leg-spinning option as well and is an outstanding fielder."
du Plessis will replace Miller at number six or seven in the batting line-up. Miller has been inconsistent since making his debut against the West Indies in May 2010. Although he is a clean hitter of the ball, he has struggled in the current series against India, scoring just 36 runs in two innings and his inexperience could well have cost his place. Miller is only 21-years-old and opportunity will no doubt come his way in the future.
Colin Ingram, who came into the national team against Zimbabwe in October last year, after Miller had made his debut, has retained his place. Ingram has been batting at No. 3, in place of the injured Jacques Kallis, and will move down the order when Kallis returns. Kallis suffered a side strain and bruising to his rib during the Test series against India and was left out of the ODI squad for the current in order to recover. Kallis is fully fit for the World Cup. "CSA's Medical Committee are happy with Kallis' progress and he will be ready to play a full role with both bat and ball from the start of the tournament."
Kallis will form part of a battery of five seamers that includes Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and two left-armers in Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell. Parnell has been the weakest of the five since making a comeback from a groin injury against Pakistan in November last year. He has been battled with his rhythm and accuracy but has been included despite his inexperience. Kallis is the only one of the five bowlers who has played in a World Cup before.
Together with Smith, AB de Villiers and Robin Petersen, Kallis is one of only four survivors from the last World Cup in the West Indies in 2007. Mark Boucher, the only other player from that tournament who could have been recalled was discarded in place of van Wyk.
van Wyk has been rewarded for consistent performances at domestic level and has been preferred to Mark Boucher as the reserve wicketkeeper, essentially signaling the end of Boucher's limited-overs career. van Wyk is also a back-up opening batsman, who could come in handy if one of Graeme Smith or Hashim Amla are indisposed. In 10 matches in this season's MNT40, he scored 323 runs at an average of 35.88, including a match-winning century in the semi-final and undefeated 85 in the final. van Wyk has played six ODIs, the last one against New Zealand in November 2007 and has an average of 32.50.
Squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk (wk)
ICC World Cup 2011: Imran Tahir and Morne van Wyk picked for World Cup | Cricket News | ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 | ESPN Cricinfo