Alviro Petersen replaces injured Graeme Smith for Champions Trophy

Image courtesy of: The Telegraph

Petersen is known for his ability to hold an innings together

South Africa opening batsman Alviro Petersen has replaced Graeme Smith for the upcoming Champions Trophy in England next month after the Proteas’ Test captain re-injured his ankle during his stint with Surrey, which will require surgery.

Petersen will now partner alongside Hashim Amla at the top of the order throughout the tournament and his inclusion has somewhat bolstered South Africa’s batting line-up which is without veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis as well since he opted out of the Champions Trophy due to personal reasons.

According to Cricket South Africa (CSA), Petersen, who has not played an ODI since January 2012, was picked for his experience and the form he has shown while representing Somerset in the English county circuit.

In the last month alone, Petersen scored 537 runs for Somerset in the County Championship and Yorkshire Bank 40 series, which South Africa convener of selectors Andrew Hudson has deemed as the “form of his life”.

Hudson noted that Petersen was also picked since he seemed to be excelling in English conditions, which is no easy task, and his outstanding form with the bat will be needed throughout the tournament if South Africa are to have a good chance of raising International Cricket Council (ICC) silverware for the first time in 15 years.

“With the tournament being played early in the England summer, we envisage that bowling conditions will favour the seamers and getting good partnerships going up front is going to be paramount to success,” Hudson said.

Petersen’s ability to hold an innings together, like he did when scoring a mammoth 182 against England at Headingley last year, will also come in handy.

Geoff Toyana, Petersen’s coach at the Lions franchise in South Africa, said: “He is a proper, proven opening batter, he is technically sound and he knows how to build an innings.”

Toyana also noted that Petersen had developed the ability to up the ante at any point during a match.

“We wanted to show what he could do when the field was out, and he could clear boundaries and hit into gaps,” Toyana said. “He adapted to that very well, he showed he can hit the ball in the latter stages of the innings.

“I think he can get that balance right for South Africa, as well. He is a smart guy and he will work it out. He knows it’s a great opportunity for him especially because he has not played much one-day cricket.”

While scoring runs will be Petersen’s primary focus during the tournament, he will also have replace Smith in the leadership sense, whereby he will have to become an advisor to captain AB de Villiers since he is one of the more mature players in the side.

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