England tour selection plans

Trevor Chesterfield

Thursday, April 23, 1998

South Africa's selectors are preparing to take a gamble and send only one wicket-keeper to England when they announce the side at Newlands tomorrow.

Which indicates that Nic Pothas, South Africa's A Team wicketkeeper against West Indies A, is heading for Sri Lanka in July and August with the A Team which is likely to be led by Natal captain Dale Benkenstein.

A 24-hour delay in announcing the teams for England and the tea island has thrown up some interesting, information as reliable sources in cape Town suggest the reserve wicketkeeper for the England tour is going to be Gerhardus Liebenberg.

Further comment is that Shaun Pollock is about to take over from Gary Kirsten as South Africa's vice-captain. Whether this is for the tour of the UK starting next month or in time for the series against West Indies in South Africa next season is a good guessing game.

What it also means is Wendell Bossenger and Morne van Wyk are likely to be ruled out of the Sri Lanka tour and Mornantau Hayward has been switched from the A Team tour to the four month England trip. The gamble is that it is a five-match test series and any replacements will be flown the UK if necessary.

Another name which has emerged as a leading candidate as the second for the spinner role is Nicky Boje, of whom it was rumoured had started negotiations with another province before the UCB stepped in to dissuade the left-arm spinner from leaving Free State.

With the gap in left-arm seamers and fast bowlers growing at domestic level, the need for two left-arm spinners and Derek Crookes creating off-spin variety.

Although the side for the tour of England is going to be a fairly predictible one, the under-19 complement in the South African A side is not going to be as large for the A Team in Sri Lanka as initially surmised. The reason for this is three from that squad is considered representation.

But names on the list are Griqualand West top-order batsman Loots Bosman, Gauteng's Neil McKenzie along with Martin van Jaarsveld.

It has been argued that although the ``next best team'' policy of the selectors may still turn up a surprise or two, with Pothas possibly the lone keeper in the squad, the senior squad will find seven seamers and an extra batsman filling Pothas' place in England. This could leave the way open for HD Ackerman to make the touring party in England.

``We have to be careful not to overload the squad for Sri lanka with too much inexperience,'' Peter Pollock, convener of the national selectors recently said.

``There are a lot of good young players around who fit in with our thinking and long-term planning, but care is needed over selection of the top-order and the bowling attack for a tour such as Sri Lanka,'' he added.

And should Boje be the third spinner in England, Robin Petersen, the under-19 World Cup squad left-arm orthodox may be given a run; and arguments of Shafiek Abrahams, or Anthony Botha catching the selectors attention are not too much wishful thinking.

Source: Trevor Chesterfield, Pretoria News

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Date-stamped : 23 Apr1998 - 07:02