South Africa's Mr Reliable has been an essential member of South African teams both as an exceptionally accurate seam bowler and as a wise vice-captain to Hansie Cronje. His worth has not always been fully recognised and he was unlucky not to be picked for the 1992 World Cup. His subsequent record in limited-overs internationals has proved his ability to combine accuracy and economy with a high strike rate.

In Test matches his main role has been as a support bowler, although he has often made crucial breakthroughs and has occasionally held centre stage, as he did with 5-wicket hauls against Australia at Newlands in 1993/94 and New Zealand at the Wanderers the fo llowing season. Yet when it is decided that South Africa will go into a Test wit hout one of the 4 seamers, it has tended to be Matthews who is the unlucky man t o be left out.

Injured during the tournament in Kenya, Matthews is out of the reckoning for both the home and away series against India, but may be in contention for a place against Australia.