South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 January 25, 2012

Justin Ontong recalled to limited-overs squads

ESPNcricinfo staff

Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras allrounder, has been included in South Africa's squads for the one-day and Twenty20 international series in New Zealand in February. Graeme Smith has been left out of the Twenty20 side, and another Cobras batsman Richard Levi will open with Hashim Amla in the format. JP Duminy was chosen ahead of Ashwell Prince in the Test squad, which also includes Robin Peterson in place of Paul Harris.

Marchant de Lange, who took seven wickets in an innings on Test debut against Sri Lanka, was selected for his first tour and was named in the Test and T20 squads. Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn were rested for the Twenty20 series.

Ontong hasn't been part of a South Africa squad since the 2009 World Twenty20 in England, where he did not play a game. The last time he played for the country was in March 2009, a T20 match against Australia. However, Ontong averaged 72 in this season's 1-Day Cup, South Africa's List A competition, and 76 in the SuperSport Series, the first-class tournament. He played some crucial knocks in the 1-Day Cup, with his three half-centuries all coming at close to a run a ball, and he helped take the Cobras over the line in the final with an unbeaten 37 off 28 balls.

"Ontong fully deserves this latest call-up," Andrew Hudson, Cricket South Africa's selection convener, said. "He has shown outstanding domestic form this season and I believe he has developed into a more mature cricketer. His finishing ability was a key factor in the Cobras' success in winning the 1-Day Cup.

"He is the complete limited-overs package, being a fine batsman who will strengthen our fielding disciplines and also give us another bowling option.

"We have decided to try out some exciting new options in the T20 squad such as Levi, Ontong and de Lange. There are only 11 matches left in this format before we travel to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20 and this is really the last chance to explore the talent we have at our disposal. Having AB de Villiers fit again for T20 action also gives us a lot more flexibility and better balance."

South Africa will play three Twenty20s in New Zealand, five against Zimbabwe at home and three more in England before the World Twenty20. An ICC trophy is the one thing noticeable by its absence in the South African cabinet and one of coach Gary Kirsten's foremost priorities is to change that.

Smith's exclusion from the squad suggests he is not in the plans for the World Twenty20. Instead, it looks like Levi, who made an impression at last year's Champions League T20 and was the third highest run-scorer in the 2010-11 Pro20 competition, will be groomed. Rusty Theron, who is renowned for his death bowling, has also been given another chance.

Albie Morkel keeps his place in the limited-overs squad. He was not included in the original squad for the ODIs against Sri Lanka, but was called up as a replacement for Dean Elgar ahead of the first ODI. He was only required to score quick runs down the order and did not take any wickets in the series.

Rory Kleinveldt and Elgar, who were both selected for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, were not considered because of injury. Kleinveldt did not play in the series and sustained a quadricep injury after the first match in Paarl. Elgar hurt his knee in the field in a SuperSport Series match and was forced to withdraw from the squad before the series started.

Twenty20 squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla (vc), Johan Botha, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Trone on January 28, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    funny thing is that Smith is the only South African in the top ten of the ICC T20 rankings

  • Paul on January 27, 2012, 0:28 GMT

    A whiff, Robster1? More like an overpowering stench.

    Robin Peterson personifies the quota system, to select him to a Test squad is just ludicrous and can only be on quota grounds. He's ordinary, always has been and is perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the quota system in SA cricket. Can't see the merit in the Ontong selection either, especially when someone like Johan Botha is a better batsman, bowler and tactical thinker than these two.

    Moreover, our persistence with Boucher will cost us as his glovework is shabby, his batting 'hit and miss'. He's so far beyond his sell by date that there's also a rather nasty stench coming from behind the stumps.

    All in all, a pretty ordinary job by Hudson and co. No surprises though, just more of the same (and all the while living in dreamland about being no 1 in all forms, winning international have to select the best to even have a chance of achieving that, dodos...).

  • subhani babu on January 26, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    I hope they rested Smith rathar than dropping, what Smith has done after 2003 world cup debacle to soucth african cricket at the tender age of 22 years, No one should forget, I always thought he belongs to 10000 runs ODI and test batsman.

  • sachit on January 26, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    @Pablo123 - Yes this will reduce workload on the international players and give more players international exposure and it seems we are slowly moving towards this trend with Aus clearly looking to create a seperate T20 squad.

  • Paul on January 26, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    I believe that international T20 sides should be specialist, kind like a rugby 7's side. This would be my SA T20 side: Loots Bosman, Herchelle Gibbs, Richard Levi, Faf Du Plessis, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Davie Jacobs, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn

  • Mark on January 26, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    I do not understand the Gibb's frenzy. He was one of our most gifted players without a doubt, but he also was one of the less predictable. He was never that consistent either. One inning he would tear apart the bowlers, then he would get a string of low scores. I am not sure he will make it on merit at this stage with our already shaky batting line up. As for Boucher- they should use De Kock for the T20 and give him some one day action while he is Boucher's understudy. Allow him some international experience. Marchant in the T20 is also a bit of a gamble ass he is still unrefined and he could be torn apart for making mistakes, as brilliant a prospect as he is. Think Robin Peterson's batting tipped the scales between him and Harris. Johan Botha is very unlucky not to be in the OD side, as he is a pretty aggressive batsman down the order. All in all, it is a good side though and should on paper beat the NZ guys.

  • Geeva on January 26, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    I am surprised that Duminy is the back-up batsmen for the tests!He needs to go back to first class cricket to prove himslf!jus like rudolph and alviro petersen has done!The selectors have no justification to return him to the test squad!I am sure England will expose Duminys batting weaknesess!!

  • Anver on January 26, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Good pick....hope will continue the same form in international arena !!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    @duncanmoo Totally agree wit you man. AB shouldnt be the one with the gloves. And the irony is that he is next in line for tests as well..

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Kaleem u seem to be an Indian Cricket fan and haven't watched too many SA games to realise that how many times Duminy has rescued SA, when he gets set he hits the ball the farthest, even more than Albie, he is an automatic selection, and if you judge a batsman by his average, then brother he has an average of 41. Ingram not there is a good thing for him, he wasn't feeling confident, maybe he is the one for future. But to those advocating Dane Vilas, he is not keeping that well, Quinton de Kock is the future and I can bet my house on it, he is the next Gilchrist in the making who will play for SA. A hard hitting left handed batsmen who bats in the top order and is also being considered a captaincy material. I cant wait to see him in GOLD & GREEN.

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