Dippenaar dropped and Klusener remains in the wilderness
Lance Klusener's hopes of being recalled to the South African side were dashed when he was not included in the squad for the first Test against West Indies at Johannesburg, which starts on Friday (Dec 12). There was also no room for Paul Adams and Boeta Dippenaar, both of whom played in the second Test against Pakistan in October.
Omar Henry, the convener of selectors, explained that Adams had recovered from injury but it was not felt that the conditions at the Wanderers would suit him. He added that Dippenaar had "shown fantastic form in both international and domestic limited-overs cricket, but his form at Test level has been patchy. Having said that, Boeta is certainly not by any means completely out of our plans for the future."
Gary Kirsten, whose wife is expecting the couple's first baby any day, will make a decision on Monday about his availability. Should he withdraw, Martin van Jaarsveld will play in his place.
As for Klusener, he didn't even come close according to insiders, despite turning in some good performances for KwaZulu-Natal this season. The general feeling was that he had not done enough to warrant his inclusion.
Henry also said that Mfuneko Ngam would join the squad for the three days leading up to the Test before returning home at the start of the match. "Mfuneko has shown signs of returning to his best form this season," Henry explained. "The selectors feel that he would benefit from being involved with the squad."
The one surprise was the inclusion of Garnett Kruger, a 26-year-old right-arm fast bowler from Gauteng, although his good performances for South Africa A helped his cause. "Garnett will benefit from being involved in the national team set-up," said Henry. "We are continuing to broaden our search for quality fast bowlers, and we are giving ourselves every chance of finding the right mix."
South African squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Gary Kirsten, Jacques Rudolph, Martin van Jaarsveld, Mark Boucher (wk), Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Robin Peterson, Garnett Kruger, Makhaya Ntini, André Nel.