DURBAN: There is less than two weeks to go before both these sides play their first match at the World T20, and they are facing the possibility of going into the tournament without much practice in the shortest format. The first match of the series was washed out and the forecast does not look promising for the next two.
That will leave both Australia and South Africa short of match-time ahead of a tournament neither have won, something which will concern South Africa more. Given the expectation thrust on them to bring home an ICC trophy, South Africa are doing all they can to refine their squad to ensure success. They need the time to have a trial run and experiment with some of the newer combinations they may have. Australia may have fewer reasons to worry, having come off three T20I wins. They would want to have the time to find room for the players they have recalled and to have another opportunity to dent their old foe ahead of a major tournament.
Albie Morkel will make a long awaited return to the South African XI after being out in the cold since the end of the 2012 World T20. Albie had a strong domestic season after taking an extended break from the game to rejuvenate himself and seems to have found a new lease on his cricketing life. He will be expected to finish the innings fast and contribute as a fourth seamer. Albie is thought to be South Africa’s trump card as they aim for an ICC trophy.
After three centuries in the Test matches David Warner may have thought his South African trip could not get any better. But he has since proposed to Candice Falzon and revealed that they were expecting their first child. Warner will hope the good times keep rolling in. With his usual aggressive, carefree style of batting, he has bullied South Africa’s bowlers all summer and, if the weather allows him to, he will want to do it again, albeit in a different format.
Dale Steyn was spotted strolling on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town on Monday, confirming his unavailability until the final match. South Africa are yet to play a match with their new combinations which include Albie Morkel and Beuran Hendricks. The team will want to field both of them before heading to Bangladesh. Brad Hogg may have to wait a little longer before becoming the oldest man to represent Australia since Clarrie Grimmett, because of a hamstring strain. James Faulkner is still being monitored as he makes his return.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (capt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell/Kyle Abbott/Beuran Hendricks, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, George Bailey (capt), Cameron White/Brad Hodge, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), Daniel Christian, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Muirhead.
NICOSIA – Lionel Messi was hailed as the best player ever by Barcelona coach Luis Enrique ...