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January 30, 2005
There's not much respite in a modern cricket tour. Less than a week after South Africa and England finished their breathless Test series at Centurion, they lock horns again in a seven-match one-day series. The first match is an all-day game on Sunday at the Wanderers in Johannesburg - the scene of England's series-clinching Test victory - and is followed by floodlit matches at Bloemfontein on Wednesday and Port Elizabeth two days later. (Click here for all the dates.)
South Africa's squad for the opening games is - like their Test side - stuffed with allrounders. Apart from Jacques Kallis, who will be looking to ram those accusations of selfishness back down a few English throats, Andrew Hall, Nicky Boje, Shaun Pollock and the recalled Justin Kemp will all be jostling for a chance up the batting order. Kemp, 27, played the last of his 14 ODIs at Perth three years ago, but returns to favour after a good domestic season with the Titans.
Up the order it's much the same as in the Tests, with AB de Villiers given a first taste of the one-day arena. Back, though, comes the 31-year-old Adam Bacher, who last pulled on the green pyjamas in November 1999 (and his last Test was all of seven years ago). Bacher, the nephew of the former SA board chief Ali, wins a recall after a prolific one-day season for the Lions - he has scored 502 runs at 62 this season, including a massive 158 not out against the Warriors at Potchefstroom.
England's team, meanwhile, is very different from the one that did battle in the Tests, and has been bolstered by a strong showing in Thursday's warm-up match against South Africa A under the lights at Kimberley, when Kevin Pietersen (97) and Ian Bell (87 not out) piled on 169 to set up an ultimately comfortable victory. Among the batsmen Graham Thorpe and Robert Key have joined Mark Butcher at home, to be replaced by Pietersen and Vikram Solanki, plus two of the fringe Test squad, Bell and Paul Collingwood.
In the bowling department Darren Gough and Alex Wharf return, alongside Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones, who earned late reprieves after Andrew Flintoff's foot injury ruled him out and Steve Harmison picked up a calf strain. Harmison is unlikely to play in the first couple of matches, but the management is keeping its fingers crossed that he will be able to recapture his elusive form later on.
With Graeme Smith smarting from a rare home defeat in the Tests, a cracking one-day series looms.
South Africa squad
Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Adam Bacher, Jacques Rudolph, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher (wk), Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Nicky Boje, Shaun Pollock, Charl Langeveldt, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel.
Marcus Trescothick, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan (capt), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones (wk), Ashley Giles, Kabir Ali, Gareth Batty, Alex Wharf, Darren Gough, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones, James Anderson.
But you can't expect a turnaround unless pitches, umpiring and practice facilities are simultaneously improved