The omission of Herschelle Gibbs and Monde Zondeki from the 14-man touring party to Bangladesh and India has again led to the intervention of Cricket South Africa president Norman Arendse, who has refused to rubber-stamp the squad writes Iqbal Khan on IOL.
It has been reliably learnt that Gibbs, who turns 34 later this month, was left out of the original 14-man squad.
The opening batsman struck his 20th one-day international hundred against the West Indies on Sunday, but he has battled for form in the longer version of the game.
Gibbs made his debut in 1996 and has played 90 Tests, but he was left out of the New Year’s five-dayer at Newlands because of a loss of form and confidence.
His place as Graeme Smith’s opening partner was filled by Neil McKenzie, who then picked up an injury in the match. Gibbs returned for the final Test in Durban.
Although he has hit 14 Test centuries, he hasn’t got to three figures since January 2005. Arendse, though, is of the opinion that he has an opportunity to play himself into form against minnows Bangladesh. Arendse’s intervention is likely to see McKenzie, who made the original 14, left out.
Zondeki had a fine season for the Cape Cobras in the recent SuperSport Series, taking 54 wickets, the second most in the competition.
The 25-year-old right-arm fast bowler has played five Tests, the last three years ago, but he has regained his form and fitness and has a growing band of supporters.
Arendse, it is understood, has questioned why the selectors have included both Andre Nel and Dale Steyn in the mooted 14-man squad as both are carrying slight injuries and the CSA president feels it’s better to rest one of them.
The squad leave for the sub-continent next week and the delay in naming it is due to Arendse’s intervention.
A source revealed early today that a 14-man squad was presented to Arendse, but he was not “a happy chappy” when he saw the names on the list.
Considering that there are three tough tours on the horizon India after Bangladesh, followed by England and then a watershed tour of Australia later in the year it would have been wise to leave both Steyn and Nel to recover fully instead of aggravating their injuries, potentially prolonging their stay on the sidelines.
The national selection panel is Joubert Strydom (convener), Mustapha Khan, Shafiek Abrahams and coach Mickey Arthur.
It is believed that Arendse was also unhappy with just four players of colour Hashim Amla, Ashwell Prince, Makhaya Ntini and JP Duminy in the 14-man squad.
Zondeki’s 54 wickets in the SuperSport Series at 20.16 apiece this season came with a best of 5-26, plus five five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul.
And he was on stand-by for Steyn in the run-up to the third Test against the West Indies at Kingsmead in mid-January.
Strydom has been asked to re-convene the panel and re-submit a 14-man squad.
There was a call for Gibbs to be reinstated as the two-match Test series against Bangladesh, the weakest of the Test nations, could help restore his confidence and see him regain form ahead of the three Tests against India soon afterwards.Tweet