Proteas unchanged for England tour

Brad Morgan

14 June 2012

South Africa has announced an unchanged squad for a three-test series in England in July and August. It pits the world's two top-ranked cricket teams against one another, with England only one point clear of the Proteas at the top of the ICC standings going into the series.

Clearly satisfied with the squad that defeated the Black Caps in New Zealand in March, the selectors opted not to make any changes to the line-up that toured the land of the long white cloud.

On that tour, the Proteas won the three-match T20 series 2-1, scored a 3-0 whitewash in the one-day international series, and triumphed 1-0 in the three-test series.

'A vote of confidence'

Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson commented in a statement on Wednesday: "The players fully deserve a vote of confidence after the outstanding manner in which they outplayed New Zealand away from home.

"We are now building up excellent depth in both the batting and bowling departments. This was highlighted by JP Duminy's century when he was called up as an 11th hour replacement for Jacques Kallis.

"I believe most other countries would be very happy to have the fast bowling resources we have at the moment," Hudson said. "Marchant de Lange has been most impressive since his outstanding debut against Sri Lanka, while Lonwabo Tsotsobe gives us a left-arm option.

Consistency

"Consistency has also been one of the key pillars of our selection policy and this is also contributing to our success on the field."

Captain Graeme Smith returns to action after undergoing out-of-season surgery. Hudson commented: "Graeme has been outstanding both as our leading runs scorer and as captain during our last two Test tours of England and I have every confidence he will continue that form."

A comparison of players from both teams in the test batting and bowling rankings makes for interesting reading.

Batting rankings

In the batting rankings, South Africa's AB de Villiers is in second place, Jacques Kallis in third, Hashim Amla in eighth, and Graeme Smith in eleventh.

England have Alistair Cook in tenth place, Ian Bell in 16th, Kevin Pietersen in 17th, and Jonathan Trott in 18th. Pietersen and Trott are both South African-born.

In the bowling rankings, Dale Steyn is number one in the world, Vernon Philander is ranked fifth and Morne Morkel 11th.

James Anderson is England's highest ranked bowler, in third position. Stuart Broad is in sixth place, Graeme Swann in eighth, and Tim Bresnan in 14th.

Imran Tahir

The bowling rankings suggest that Proteas' leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who is ranked just 61st, could have a vital role to play in the series, and that he needs to raise his game.

Tahir has been working on his game in Pakistan under the tutelage of Pakistani great Abdul Qadir in preparation for the tour of England.

Lovers of the art of leg spin will be eager to see what that time has done for the South African spinner. South African fans will be hoping for a leg-spinner who is an effective strike bowler too.

T20 Triangular

Before touring England, the Proteas will play in a T20 triangular in Zimbabwe, against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

With Johan Botha having been forced to withdraw from the triangular because of a knee injury, Hashim Amla will captain the team.

The event, which features seven matches, takes place from 18 June to 24 June.

SOUTH AFRICAN TEST SQUAD

Graeme Smith (Cobras, capt), Hashim Amla (Dolphins), Mark Boucher (Cobras), Marchant de Lange (Titans), AB de Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cobras), Imran Tahir (Lions), Jacques Kallis (Cobras), Morne Morkel (Titans), Alviro Petersen (Lions), Robin Peterson (Cobras), Vernon Philander (Cobras), Jacques Rudolph (Titans), Dale Steyn (Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Warriors)

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