As South Africa prepare to announce their squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, we look at some of the questions selectors might have to contend with.
South Africa have had a decent run in the lead-up to the marquee event, defeating Pakistan and Sri Lanka in back-to-back series at home. But there remain some issues that the management will have to address as they prepare to announce the squad on Thursday, 18 April. We take a look at what those could be. Have your say.
1. South Africa have struggled with their opening pair in ODI cricket. Quinton de Kock is in a rich vein of form of late, and seems a guaranteed starter at the top of the order for the World Cup, but who should be his co-opener?
Hashim Amla has had his struggles in the recent past, Aiden Markram has shown promise but has been inconsistent while Reeza Hendricks has done much better in the middle order.
2. South Africa have always had an abundance of pace bowling talent in the country, and they again have a problem of plenty. Kagiso Rabada seems a certainty in the XI and Andile Phehlukwayo too has been a regular fixture in the side. The other options include Dale Steyn, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Dwaine Pretorius. But for the sake of balance, South Africa might not want more than two other pacers.
3. Imran Tahir has been one of South Africa's most consistent performers in recent times. Since the 2015 World Cup, he has picked up 92 wickets at 27.46 with an economy rate of well under five. He's likely to be a staple in the South Africa XI throughout the World Cup, but South Africa might need another frontline spinner not only as back-up but also in case they find the need to play two slower bowlers on a pitch that calls for it.
4. Heinrich Klaasen has blown hot and cold in his young international career. In 14 ODIs, he has scored just 251 runs at 22.81, but he has the ability to hit the ball clean and is a full-time wicket-keeper. He wasn't picked in South Africa's squad for the their most recent ODI series, against Sri Lanka, but in the event of injury to de Kock, South Africa might need a back-up wicket-keeper.
5. Despite being a respectable No.4 on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team rankings, South Africa, for a change, aren't being fancied as one of the top contenders to lift the World Cup this time. The 'favourites' tag has been bestowed upon England, India and even Australia to a degree in lieu of their sudden resurgence. This might liberate South Africa players from the burden of expectations.
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