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July 16, 2008
South Africa have included four uncapped players in the provisional squad of 30 players for the Champions Trophy in September. The rest of the squad have international experience, but fast bowler Charl Langeveldt, who opted out of the India tour following his controversial selection ahead of Andre Nel, has been omitted. Langeveldt later joined English county side Derbyshire on a two-year Kolpak contract.
Fast bowlers Yusuf Abdullah and Ethy Mbhalati and allrounders Rory Kleinveldt and Johann Louw find a place in the list of 30. Louw was named the Most Valuable Player in the SA Cricketers' Association's awards: the 29-year-old Dolphins' medium-pacer took 41 wickets at 18.31 in the SuperSport Series, 24 wickets at 14.62 in the MTN Domestic Championship and 12 wickets at 15.16 in the Standard Bank Pro20 competition.
Neil McKenzie, who has had a remarkable run since his return to the Test arena, has been included, as has Herschelle Gibbs, whom McKenzie replaced in the Test XI. Gibbs had recently expressed doubts over his international career.
The tournament is to be held in Pakistan, but concerns over security may force a switch to Sri Lanka, which the ICC named as an alternate venue. South Africa and England have also been reported as back-ups in case Pakistan is considered unsafe for the tournament, which features the top eight ODI teams. South Africa have been pooled along with England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with the top two teams progressing to the semi-finals. The 30-man squad will be pruned to 15 for the tournament.
"They are all players who have done well in domestic cricket in both forms of the limited-overs game," chief selector Joubert Strydom said, "and they are talents we have identified who will play important roles in South African cricket going forward.
"The rest of the squad is made up of tried and tested players who have represented South Africa with distinction over the past year. We have every confidence in them to bring a major ICC trophy home."
Gerald Majola, the Cricket South Africa chief executive, emphasised the need to win a major tournament. "Since winning the inaugural version of this event in 1998, the Proteas have not featured to their full potential in international tournaments," he said. "This is something that CSA and the Protea team management have been addressing and we are confident of providing a formidable challenge this time.
"The Proteas are rated one of the best limited-overs teams in world cricket, and this will be a motivating factor for the Proteas at this tournament."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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