Kallis and Boucher to stay back in India
South African players Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher might be good enough for the Bangalore IPL franchise to justify paying almost US$1.5 million for them, but they are not good enough to make their domestic Twenty20 squad. Both are therefore staying in India and not returning home with the rest of the South African Test squad.
Both players, as well as Ashwell Prince, represent the Cape Cobras in the Standard Bank Pro20 tournament in South Africa. Shukri Conrad, the Cobras' coach and convenor of selectors, chose to include Graeme Smith and JP Duminy from the six nationally-contracted players but could find no place in his team for Prince and seamer Monde Zondeki as well. Smith and Duminy replace promising youngsters Richard Levi and Stiaan van Zyl.
A statement from the Cobras said that Kallis, Boucher and Prince were now "free to stay on in India to participate in the new IPL league if Cricket South Africa (CSA) gives them the go ahead."
Conrad felt the Cobras were faced with "an embarrassment of talent and choices" and it had been a difficult call to make. "Did the selectors completely reshuffle the team by packing in the six national players or did they back the current crop who had brought the Cobras unbeaten to the knockout stages of the competition? said Conrad. "The selectors opted to go for continuity, with some batting reinforcement at the top of the order, but it was not an easy decision since the national players are so self evidently great talents and had indicated they were keen to play."
Andre Odendaal, the Cobras' chief executive, emphasised that the national players put their obligations to South Africa cricket first and had been keen to play for the Cobras.
"We appreciate the fact that Cricket South Africa went out of their way to ensure they were available and that they were all prepared to come back for the final two weeks of the Pro20, even at the risk of losing considerable income in India. The Cobras selectors have now made their call and our three players can now participate in the launch of the IPL. Indeed, the team was selected early so that they knew where they stood and were not uneccessarily inconvenienced."
Cape Cobras squad: Graeme Smith, Andrew Puttick, Herschelle Gibbs, JP Duminy, Henry Davids, Vernon Philander, Rory Kleinveldt, Tyron Henderson, Con de Lange, Ryan Canning, Charl Langeveldt
Neil Manthorp is a South African broadcaster and journalist, and head of the MWP Sport agency