England in South Africa 2009-10 November 14, 2009

Gibbs offered international lifeline

Cricinfo staff

Herschelle Gibbs has been offered an unexpected chance to push for an international recall after he was drafted into the South Africa A squad to face England, at Potchefstroom, on Tuesday.

He was one of three changes to the original group with Gibbs' Cape Cobras team-mates Andrew Puttick, who hit a century in the Champions League, and seamer Rory Kleinveldt also added. Henry Davids, the opener, has dropped out with a broken thumb and left-arm spinner Robin Petersen has been deselected after indicating to Cricket South Africa that he will be taking up a Kolpak contract with Derbyshire.

The selectors have also decided to remove Ryan McLaren because he is likely to have played both Twenty20 internationals and could also be needed as a replacement for the injured Wayne Parnell in the first ODI next Friday.

For Gibbs, though, this is an opportunity to earn perhaps a final crack at the top level after he was dropped from the one-day and Twenty20 squads to face England. He has responded with 163 runs in three domestic 40-over innings including an unbeaten 102.

"Herschelle has shown excellent form in recent MTN40 matches," said convener of selectors Mike Procter, "and this match will give him a further opportunity to press his case for an international recall. He is showing the consistency we want from him and his last innings was a match-winning century.

"The door is not closed to him or indeed to anybody else who produces the goods in domestic cricket. Both Puttick and Kleinveldt impressed for the Cape Cobras in the Champions League competition."

When the A-team squad was first named three weeks ago Procter's comments suggested the selectors had finally moved on from Gibbs ahead of the next World Cup although did add that domestic form could change the situation.

"We have lost patience with his inconsistency and I had a chat with him this morning and we agreed that he has been inconsistent," he said. "We have to keep 2011 [the World Cup] in mind and we need to spread our wings a bit…He is 35, but he is fit and he is a huge talent and if he makes a mountain of runs and is batting consistently then things change."

The strong South Africa A squad is led by Hashim Amla and also includes Morne Morkel. Last week England lost their Twenty20 warm-up to a similar set of A-team players by four wickets after being bowled out for 89.

Revised squad Hashim Amla (capt), CJ de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Herschelle Gibbs, Rory Kleinveldt, Heino Kuhn, Morne Morkel, Andrew Puttick, Rilee Rossouw, Juan Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld