South Africa have named their 30 man provisional squad for Septembers inaugural 20/20 World Cup, a tournament that they will play host to.
The squad, which will be trimmed to 15 next month, contains no real surprises. Graeme Smith, who missed the recent trip to Ireland, returns as captain, with Jacques Kallis stepping down to his usual role as vice captain.
After much has been made of South Africa’s lack of variation in the Caribbean World Cup the selectors have included 8 players who could offer a spin option in the 30 man squad. Robin Peterson, who was the only front line spinner in the world cup squad, is included after being dropped for the Irish tour. Thandi Tshabalala, who travelled to Ireland is also included, as is Johan Botha, who is currently captaining an Emerging Players team in Australia, a team that also includes Gulam Bodi, JP Duminy, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Alviro Peterson, Vernon Philander and Tshabalala.
Hard hitting all rounder Johan van der Wath makes a deserved recall to the squad, but whether or not the selectors pick him for the final 15 only they know. A player of his all round ability and talent should be in all South African squads, however if they past few selections have been anything to go by the selectors may not pick him. Lets hope they are brave enough to realise they have been wrong in not selecting van der Wath and pick him this time, giving him an extended run to cement a place in the future ODI team. With Justin Kemp seemingly playing as a batsman and not the all rounder role that he has been picked for it is time that van der Wath and Vernon Philander are given a run in the team.
With this being South Africa there is more to any national selection that purely picking the best available players. There are 14 players of colour in the 30 man squad, all of whom are there by merit and not simply for the colour of their skin, and this should placate any political interference.
While the squad may be the initial 30 man selection, and will be halved next month, it is encouraging to note the Neil Mckenzie has been included. Mckenzie has been out of the national fold for some time now, and despite strong domestic performances has been over looked time and time again, with the selectors seemingly discarding him to the past. He has now been rewarded with selection, but lets hope that they intend to give him a fair chance at making the 15 man team, and any future ODI and Test squads, and that this is not just a transparent attempt to quieten their detractors.
The full squad is: Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Gulam Bodi, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Paul Harris, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Mornè Morkel, Andrè Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Roger Telemachus, Alfonso Thomas, Thandi Tshabalala, Johan van der Wath, Mornè van Wyk