Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa have included the uncapped duo of Lungi Ngidi and Khaya Zondo in their squad for the first three ODIs against India.
Ngidi made his Test debut during the ongoing Test series against India and has also represented the Proteas in three Twenty20 Internationals. However, he has yet to play ODI cricket.
He was supposed to play in the ODI series against Sri Lanka last January, but was ruled out due to a rib injury. He also missed out on the Champions Trophy in June last year due to a back issue.
Zondo, meanwhile, has yet to make his international debut, but has played 112 List A matches, in which he averages 32.90 with the bat.
In the Momentum One Day Cup, Zondo, who represents the Dolphins, has scored 263 runs in nine matches at an average of 43.83.
Meanwhile, pace bowler Morne Morkel and all-rounder Chris Morris are also back in the side after missing out on South Africa’s last ODI assignment against Bangladesh. Morkel was ruled out of the series with a side strain, while Morris was still recovering from a back injury.
“It’s important for us to be clear in terms of where we are in our plans. We are starting our vision 2019, which are the players we are looking for,” Linda Zondi, South Africa’s convener of selectors, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “It is important for us to increase the pool and give opportunity so that we know by the time it comes to late this year, we don’t have to be clouded. This is a holistic approach in terms of giving opportunity. This is going to happen for the whole year. There will be guys, key guys, that we are going to rest and rotate.”
Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has also returned to the squad, but in a rather surprising move, batsman Farhaan Behardien was dropped.
“At the moment, I think Tahir is still our No.1 spinner,” Zondi said. “Shamsi will come into the picture. There are a couple of spinners we need to look at. [Keshav] Maharaj is part and parcel. He bowls and he bats, he is a good fielder. Let’s see what Shamsi can bring to the table and we also need to see how we can bring Maharaj.”
Behardien’s omission comes as a major shock, especially as he has done extremely well in the Momentum One Day Cup, where he has amassed 364 runs in nine games for the Titans at an average of 52.
However, Zondi insisted that he still has a chance of featuring in the ODI series against India when the selectors reassess the squad after the third match.
“He knows, every single player knows that after the third game, we are going to sit and decide,” Zondi said. “We will definitely be resting, rotating and giving opportunity otherwise we will be sitting with the same names as we prepare for 2019.”
In terms of the wicketkeeping department, South Africa have not named a back-up for Quinton de Kock. But, that could change later on in the series.
“What happens if Quinton gets injured? Is AB going to take the gloves? Maybe not, but we have a plan in terms of a keeper,” Zondi said. “With the keeping situation, we’ve got [Heinrich] Klaasen, [Mangaliso] Mosehle and [Rudi] Second.”
The five-match ODI series between South Africa and India gets underway on February 1 in Durban.
South Africa’s squad for first three ODIs: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo