South Africa in England 2012 July 11, 2012

Tsolekile named as Boucher's replacement

ESPNcricinfo staff

Thami Tsolekile, the Lions wicketkeeper, will replace Mark Boucher in South Africa's squad for the Test series in England. Tsolekile, however, is unlikely to play the first Test from July 19, with South Africa coach Gary Kirsten saying AB de Villiers will keep wicket at The Oval.

"Thami has done very well [for] both the Lions and South Africa A for a couple of seasons, culminating in his South African record [of] eight catches in an innings this past week," Andrew Hudson, Cricket South Africa's convener of selectors, said. "With AB de Villiers also able to fill the role of wicketkeeper in the Test series it gives the tour selectors options in this important position."

Tsolekile's inclusion was necessary because of Boucher's retirement from cricket, following a severe eye injury sustained during the tour match against Somerset in Taunton. Boucher was struck by a bail and had to undergo surgery for a lacerated eyeball.

Tsolekile, 31, played three Tests for South Africa in 2004, when Boucher was left out of the team. He scored only 47 runs in five innings and was dropped when Boucher made a comeback. Tsolekile has vast domestic experience, having played 132 first-class matches over a 13-year career that began in 1999. He has been second in line to the national team for years but did not get an opportunity because of Boucher's permanence in South Africa's plans.

Tsolekile was given a central contract in February, the first time CSA had contracted a second wicketkeeper in 13 years since contracts were first awarded in 1998.

During a recent game between South Africa A and Sri Lanka A in Durban, Tsolekile took eight catches in the first innings, a South African record.

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  • praveen4honestremark on July 14, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    I am sure SA wins 3-0 against ENG. Any one with me???

  • whatawicket on July 12, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    to say harris is a better choice as spinner is nonsense. harris suits the saffers mentality as cautious its just in their nature. tahir if used as an attacking spinner could help them get the better of england. the oval of all the 3 test grounds can suit spinners, but with the rain thats about depends how dry they leave the pitch. if the saffers win the toss and bat and score enough runs and able to put pressure on england. but you can bet england will put pressure on tahir then smiths cautious nature will kick in. should be a great series with the 2 best teams going head to head. i can see 1 - 1 on the cards.

  • aahahaa on July 12, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    I have always felt that if there is one team, in spite of the class talent avaialble, that shoots itself in the foot by selection (quota?) is SA. Eng has the best fast bowling attack right now, and a WC spinner. I will already not have de Lange, Tsotsobe, Tsolekele, Rudiolph and Tahir not playing tests against the current super English contingent. SA should scrap the quota system to win anything worthwhile.

  • SurlyCynic on July 12, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    BlackInWhites: "All of the other keepers bat high up the order and will find difficulties adjusting to the lower order batting" - haha, had to laugh at this statement. They bat higher up the order as they are far better batsmen than him, simple really. If you want to argue that TT is a better keeper and that batting isn't important for a keeper then fair enough (although I'd disagree), to argue that Thami is a better batsman because he bats lower down the order is nonsensical.

  • satish619chandar on July 12, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    @RandyOZ : To some extent true.. The players need to follow the likes of Rudolph as they now have a opening in their home team..

  • satish619chandar on July 12, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    As for team composition, SA should have bought in Harris.. Preferring a attacking spinner is good but as far as we see in England, spin is nothing these days.. No spinner performed even decent with ball.. Swann plays here most of times and he looks ok but absolutely nothing in for spinners.. Can SA think of a four man seam attack with JPD as spinner? I would have preferred Harris over Tahir as Harris always performed his role to perfect and DID it for team.. Atleast he can be containing at one end ans allow the pacers to go full throttle at the other end.. Wish SA pick a perfectly balanced team for the first test.. Hope no more injuries..

  • Jester01 on July 12, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Faf du Plessis would probably have been the best choice in my opinion to replace Boucher, seeing that selectors have opted to make our batting stronger by not selecting a wicketkeeper for the first test. He was a Kolpak player so he should know the conditions, he can also bowl legbreak and he's also an outstanding fielder. We can't afford to drop catches like we did against the Kiwi's. JP Duminy really struggled last time against Swann, to be fair the guy is tough to get away for most left-handers but JP will also make our batting-lineup look more formidable. The best wicketkeeper to fill Boucher's shoes is Dane Vilas, he can score runs and do it at a good strike-rate. None of this really matters now, because Thami Tsolekile has already replaced Boucher as successor like we all expected. I doubt that he will play though.

  • Eskimo on July 12, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    AB must keep. Period. This nonsense about he can't because he's the best bat in the team is rubbish. Just because other teams didn't have the luxury of their keeper also being the best bat in the team, shouldn't mean SA should not exploit his talent. SA will always be 2nd best if they copy other teams and I'm sick and tired seeing talent go wasted. All the top teams these days have batsmen-keepers. That extra batsman will level the playing grounds in the upcoming series, considering Eng's huge batting depth. The best teams sacrifice to be the best. England are playing so many matches and it paid off. If it was me I'd play De Lange instead of Tahir and see what these english batsman are really made of, since Tahir is rubbish compared to the pace attack.

  • BlackInWhites on July 12, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Out of all the alternative wicketkeepers that you guys are mentioning (Vilas, Kuhn, Van Wyk, Smit), Tsolekile has been the only one to illustrate that he can make runs batting at No7 and No8. All of the other keepers bat high up the order and will find difficulties adjusting to the lower order batting..... Can somebody give me a No7 and No8 batsman that has scored more runs than Tsolekile over the recent seasons???????????????????????????? AB is a very good batsman that hasnt been tested at keeping and batting in the longer format of the game.. Would you want to tire your main batsman by making him keep?

  • riverlime on July 12, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    AB is too good a batsman to risk tiring him out with Test keeping. For the limited overs games, maybe, but not the longest form. I've said this before... Let a keeper keep and let a batsman bat.

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