India in South Africa 2013-14 December 9, 2013

South Africa mull their best Test eleven

The South Africa thinktank is involved in a discussion around three areas of the team composition - the opening berth, a specialist wicketkeeper and what type of spinner to use
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One of the secrets to South Africa's Test success - they have lost only one match since becoming the No.1 ranked side last August - is not such a secret at all. "Consistency in selection" as former coach Gary Kirsten dubbed it has seen them using largely the same group of players in the longest format and has led to a settled unit which will be redeployed for the two-Test series against India. 

Convener of selectors Andrew Hudson said while the XI will only be decided on match morning, as is always the case, he feels there is "unlikely to be any changes", which means South Africa will probably stick to their seven batsmen, four bowler strategy. But that does not mean there is no room for debate. A source confirmed the panel, along with other decision makers such as coach Russell Domingo and captain Graeme Smith, are involved in discussion around three areas of the team composition. 

The focus is spread between the opening berth, the question over a specialist wicketkeeper and what type of spinner to use.  

At the top of the order, Alviro Petersen's place is in question. Graeme Smith's partner has not gone past 30 in his last nine Test innings. A possible replacement for him is in the current squad. 

Dean Elgar, who has batted at No. 6 and 7 for South Africa and once at No. 3, when he replaced an unavailable Hashim Amla, is an opener by trade and is yet to play in his preferred spot at this level. Elgar has already enjoyed a good start to the current season, with a century for the Knights in the opening round of the first-class competition and his coach Sarel Cilliers believes he is "absolutely ready" to open the batting for South Africa. 

What may work against Elgar is that South Africa may not be in favour of a pairing with two left-handed batsmen, which would also make current Sunfoil series leader Stiaan van Zyl only an outside candidate, and Petersen may hold on to the spot with the knowledge someone like Stephen Cook is chasing him. Cook has scored two hundreds in two consecutive matches in the first-class competition, has led the run charts in the past and is knocking on the door once again. 

Another player, and one who has received the popular vote, who could be looked at in that position is Quinton de Kock. The 20-year-old has enjoyed a rich streak of form in one-day cricket, with three centuries, two against India in this month, but was overlooked for the longest format despite public pressure to pick him.

"The question is where would we play him?" Hudson asked. "At the moment, he is doing really well in the shorter format but we want him to go and score big hundreds for the Lions before considering him for Tests." 

De Kock has an impressive first-class record, albeit based on only 18 matches. He averages 55.70 and already has four centuries to his name but Hudson is hopeful he will add to that this summer. Developing his keeping, which has already shown significant signs of improvement, is the other area the selectors would like to de Kock to work on before picking him in the Test team. 

What de Kock has showed them in the shorter format is that freeing AB de Villiers from the gloves does wonders for his game. De Villiers has batted with more freedom in ODIs and made his presence felt on the field and they may look to unburden him in a similar way in Tests. 

For that, South Africa will need to play reserve wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile. ESPNcricinfo understands this is a sticking point with the current selection panel and has divided them. One half of it calling for Tsolekile to replace Faf du Plessis - who has not managed a half-century in seven innings in Tests - while the other wants the status quo.

Either way, du Plessis is the other player under pressure to perform, as he was in the 50-over game. He was dropped from South Africa's squad to play ODIs against both Pakistan and India but remains the T20 captain. 

The final area of scrutiny is which spinner South Africa will choose, having retained both Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson in the squad. Tahir has overtaken Peterson in the pecking order, since he replaced him for the second Test against Pakistan in the UAE. Tahir claimed a five-for against his former countrymen and has since been South Africa's first-choice spinner in all three formats with Peterson left out of recent T20 and ODI squads. 

Hudson explained Peterson's career is far from over and he could still earn a place in the XI, depending on the strategy South Africa opt for. "We definitely aren't looking past Peterson," Hudson said. "If you look at the last two years, it's really been a ding-dong battle between them. If we go for an attacking spinner, Imran is our guy and [if] we need a more defensive spinner, then we will go with Robbie." 

Tahir was less successful against Pakistan in South Africa than he was in the UAE, and has not played either of the ODIs against India. With pitches likely to be prepared with the seamers in mind, he may find conditions keeping him out of the XI, particularly for the first match at the Wanderers, and Peterson could have an opportunity to work his way back in.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SurlyCynic on December 11, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @mahjut: My previous response wasn't posted so I'll just post a few facts:

    -De Kock was dropped after the SL series, not sure if you watch all our games. In the Pakistan ODI series, even with Amla out Ingram and Smith opened. De Kock came back in the 3rd ODI when Smith was injured and averaged 60 over the ODI series.

    -De Kock has more runs after 16 ODI innings than any player in SA history. Is this an 'occasional glimpse' of what he should be doing?

    -He is a 20 yr old keeper who opens the batting, can clear the boundaries and make centuries. And FC average of 55. May not excite you but does excite most of us South Africans that I speak to. To me he is the most exciting talent since AB and Amla.

    -I judge him on these facts and his record, but I did first get excited when watching him bat for the Lions and make a sublime century. Not sure what you have against him or why you don't want a talented young player to make it, I remember you arguing against his selection from the start

  • SurlyCynic on December 11, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    @mahjut : I was not defending anyone, I was querying your statement that De Kock showed 'occasional' glimpses of justifying his selection.

    Perhaps you haven't been following all SA's games. De Kock was dropped from the team after struggling opening in Sri Lanka. Even though Amla was away the ODI series in the UAE started with Ingram and Smith opening. De Kock only came back in the 3rd game after Smith went home. He hit a century in the UAE and averaged over 60 in ODIs.

    After 16 ODI innings he has more runs than any SA player in history. Is this an 'occasional' glimpse of justifying his selection? I confess I have been excited about De Kock's talent ever since watching him hit a century for the Lions. A 20 yr old keeper who can open the batting, clear the boundary, make centuries - these don't come along very often.

    But I remember debating with you when he was first selected and you were very disparaging, so I can only assume you have some reason to look beyond his talent and runs.

  • mahjut on December 11, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    @SurlyCynic ... your defence of StaalBurgher is no less confusing for me than my de Kock comments are for you I fear.

    de Kock had a great debut season and was, VERY young, given an international debut - that there is investment (you can see it as insignificant if you like). He looked mostly at sea (and appeared to confirm the rise was too rapid when thrust into the IPL). He had to be better managed and they did that by giving him some breathing space but he was not dropped in SL - in fact he was drafted in for the last three games (Have I missed a series between SL and PK?) in which he never ignited ... unless I did miss a series that did not deter them selecting him for the ODIs against PK - in which he hit ONE half century in, what did you say, 6 games? in fact by that point, after 16 innings he had hit only one half century (112) - which was a glimpse of what he might eventually do ... he then hit 47 showing another glimpse. I am ambivalent emotionally - I judge his record ...

  • Gordo85 on December 11, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    I think since they keep on persisting with Thami Tsolekile on getting in the Test squads back to back now for a long time not playing, I think he needs to play. It is no good if you keep on selecting a fellow just for the reason of having him there is he is never going to have a go. I think his time has passed however I will say he has played pretty well recently so it is good they are trying to reward him but at age 33 he is getting on and probably will only play for another few years or more. I think everyone needs to see Thami Tsolekile in action so then we can say "The selectors were right" when he does well or we can all say to the selectors if it doesn't go well "what were you thinking?" I was at the Adelaide Oval Test when Australia played South Africa and my dad was there with me and I back then wanted Thami Tsolekile to play because I felt he would help AB and because they kept on selecting him but refused to play him.

  • Bowlersholding on December 11, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Interesting points made @Unomaas. I do think however that a home series against these sort of bowlers would have been a good chance to get De Kock going. He is clearly the future, whereas Thami is a capable back up at best. Also think that Faf deserves another chance, before we revert to Elgar.

  • Andre117 on December 11, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Thami's batting is not up to test standard. Quinton's average is almost double Thami's and those who say an average of 55 is unrealistic because it's early in his career, did you ever see this man bat? The next IPL they will be fighting over him and I can say the same for English county sides.

  • on December 10, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    I think DeKock deserve his place in Test cricket after good performance in ODIs. Having average of 55 in FC is great and up to merit to enter test cricket. I don't know what Gary is looking for and why to give too many chances to Peterson.

    If you don't try new players then you will never get players like Phelender at all.

  • Unomaas on December 10, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @Robster1

    Bouchers inclusion in the team was a toss up between Nic Pothas and himself. Since our readmission to international cricket, we had always chosen a Wicket Keeper based on glove work rather than batsmanship (old school thinking but remember this was before the advent of Gilchrist). It was adjudicated that Boucher was a better gloveman (which he proved over a very long career). Boucher's batting technique was not the major deciding factor hence your logic and thinking with regard to Bouchers inclusion is erroneous. If you ask anyone whose who in SA cricket, everyone will agree that QdK's glovework leaves alot to be desired. Keep in mind that Thami is a better rated gloveman that QdK.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I'm having a hard time with the idea that even *some* of the selectors are still considering using Thami in the Test side. His time - if he did have one - has come and gone.

    What more does de Kock have to do to get in the side?

  • sharadgargconnect on December 10, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    India is not No1. odi side for sure. Its just the odi rankings. They have played most of the Odis in home and against Zimbabwe and Sri lanka who are modern weak teams.

    India should be ranked no4 or no5 in odi because they are bunch of batsmen who cannot score 100s in overseas conditions. The ICC should correct their points and ranking system. Any asian team loosing overseas should get more penalty than any overseas team loosing in asia. If a team wins at home, they should earn some standard points and not huge rank. This applies to all asian teams like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan who become heavy weights just by winning games on those flat, slow low tracks.

    I think Australia is no1 odi team and SA is no2 odi team. Aus is just not serious about odi. But they should become serious as they are in case of ashes. odi world cup 2015 and T20 world cup 2014 is not far.

  • SurlyCynic on December 11, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @mahjut: My previous response wasn't posted so I'll just post a few facts:

    -De Kock was dropped after the SL series, not sure if you watch all our games. In the Pakistan ODI series, even with Amla out Ingram and Smith opened. De Kock came back in the 3rd ODI when Smith was injured and averaged 60 over the ODI series.

    -De Kock has more runs after 16 ODI innings than any player in SA history. Is this an 'occasional glimpse' of what he should be doing?

    -He is a 20 yr old keeper who opens the batting, can clear the boundaries and make centuries. And FC average of 55. May not excite you but does excite most of us South Africans that I speak to. To me he is the most exciting talent since AB and Amla.

    -I judge him on these facts and his record, but I did first get excited when watching him bat for the Lions and make a sublime century. Not sure what you have against him or why you don't want a talented young player to make it, I remember you arguing against his selection from the start

  • SurlyCynic on December 11, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    @mahjut : I was not defending anyone, I was querying your statement that De Kock showed 'occasional' glimpses of justifying his selection.

    Perhaps you haven't been following all SA's games. De Kock was dropped from the team after struggling opening in Sri Lanka. Even though Amla was away the ODI series in the UAE started with Ingram and Smith opening. De Kock only came back in the 3rd game after Smith went home. He hit a century in the UAE and averaged over 60 in ODIs.

    After 16 ODI innings he has more runs than any SA player in history. Is this an 'occasional' glimpse of justifying his selection? I confess I have been excited about De Kock's talent ever since watching him hit a century for the Lions. A 20 yr old keeper who can open the batting, clear the boundary, make centuries - these don't come along very often.

    But I remember debating with you when he was first selected and you were very disparaging, so I can only assume you have some reason to look beyond his talent and runs.

  • mahjut on December 11, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    @SurlyCynic ... your defence of StaalBurgher is no less confusing for me than my de Kock comments are for you I fear.

    de Kock had a great debut season and was, VERY young, given an international debut - that there is investment (you can see it as insignificant if you like). He looked mostly at sea (and appeared to confirm the rise was too rapid when thrust into the IPL). He had to be better managed and they did that by giving him some breathing space but he was not dropped in SL - in fact he was drafted in for the last three games (Have I missed a series between SL and PK?) in which he never ignited ... unless I did miss a series that did not deter them selecting him for the ODIs against PK - in which he hit ONE half century in, what did you say, 6 games? in fact by that point, after 16 innings he had hit only one half century (112) - which was a glimpse of what he might eventually do ... he then hit 47 showing another glimpse. I am ambivalent emotionally - I judge his record ...

  • Gordo85 on December 11, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    I think since they keep on persisting with Thami Tsolekile on getting in the Test squads back to back now for a long time not playing, I think he needs to play. It is no good if you keep on selecting a fellow just for the reason of having him there is he is never going to have a go. I think his time has passed however I will say he has played pretty well recently so it is good they are trying to reward him but at age 33 he is getting on and probably will only play for another few years or more. I think everyone needs to see Thami Tsolekile in action so then we can say "The selectors were right" when he does well or we can all say to the selectors if it doesn't go well "what were you thinking?" I was at the Adelaide Oval Test when Australia played South Africa and my dad was there with me and I back then wanted Thami Tsolekile to play because I felt he would help AB and because they kept on selecting him but refused to play him.

  • Bowlersholding on December 11, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Interesting points made @Unomaas. I do think however that a home series against these sort of bowlers would have been a good chance to get De Kock going. He is clearly the future, whereas Thami is a capable back up at best. Also think that Faf deserves another chance, before we revert to Elgar.

  • Andre117 on December 11, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Thami's batting is not up to test standard. Quinton's average is almost double Thami's and those who say an average of 55 is unrealistic because it's early in his career, did you ever see this man bat? The next IPL they will be fighting over him and I can say the same for English county sides.

  • on December 10, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    I think DeKock deserve his place in Test cricket after good performance in ODIs. Having average of 55 in FC is great and up to merit to enter test cricket. I don't know what Gary is looking for and why to give too many chances to Peterson.

    If you don't try new players then you will never get players like Phelender at all.

  • Unomaas on December 10, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @Robster1

    Bouchers inclusion in the team was a toss up between Nic Pothas and himself. Since our readmission to international cricket, we had always chosen a Wicket Keeper based on glove work rather than batsmanship (old school thinking but remember this was before the advent of Gilchrist). It was adjudicated that Boucher was a better gloveman (which he proved over a very long career). Boucher's batting technique was not the major deciding factor hence your logic and thinking with regard to Bouchers inclusion is erroneous. If you ask anyone whose who in SA cricket, everyone will agree that QdK's glovework leaves alot to be desired. Keep in mind that Thami is a better rated gloveman that QdK.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I'm having a hard time with the idea that even *some* of the selectors are still considering using Thami in the Test side. His time - if he did have one - has come and gone.

    What more does de Kock have to do to get in the side?

  • sharadgargconnect on December 10, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    India is not No1. odi side for sure. Its just the odi rankings. They have played most of the Odis in home and against Zimbabwe and Sri lanka who are modern weak teams.

    India should be ranked no4 or no5 in odi because they are bunch of batsmen who cannot score 100s in overseas conditions. The ICC should correct their points and ranking system. Any asian team loosing overseas should get more penalty than any overseas team loosing in asia. If a team wins at home, they should earn some standard points and not huge rank. This applies to all asian teams like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan who become heavy weights just by winning games on those flat, slow low tracks.

    I think Australia is no1 odi team and SA is no2 odi team. Aus is just not serious about odi. But they should become serious as they are in case of ashes. odi world cup 2015 and T20 world cup 2014 is not far.

  • Robster1 on December 10, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Until SA start to choose their best squad they obviously can't put their best XI on the field. Of course de Kock and Abbott should be in the squad - probably McLaren too - but both Petersen's and Tsolekile owe their continuing section to other factors. the quicker SA can have de Kock taking the gloves in all forms of the game the better. Boucher was in the side at 20 years old.

  • Unomaas on December 10, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Thami and Elgar's stocks are at an all time high after their heroics in the SA A squad which performed so well against India A & Australia A during july/August this year:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/630760.html

    Elgar has been scoring hundreds. He deserves a proper go at international level to stake a claim.

    Thami deserves a chance to show South African fans and selectors what he is all about. His treatment by CSA recently left a bad taste in the mouth.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/598086.html

    I think we owe him a chance.

  • SurlyCynic on December 10, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    @mahjut : Agree with you on Elgar, even though he has a decent career avg he hasn't been good enough recently to get into the team, and I still remember Johnson destroying him. I'd keep Alviro for now but he needs to get back to his best in the next few tests and longer term youngsters like De Kock, Bavuma etc will gradually enter the test scene.

    As for your comments about De Kock showing 'occasional glimpses of repaying that investment', after they invested 'so much', I'm a bit confused. He played 7 ODIs and a few T20s and then was dropped after not doing well opening in Sri Lanka. He then fell down the pecking order so even Ingram came back as a makeshift opener ahead of him. Seems like a normal chance given to a young player, not a massive investment.

    Since he came back into the team he's scored 3 centuries in 8 ODI games and is averaging over 60 (6 games were against Pak, one of the strongest attacks). How is this an 'occasional glimpse'? I guess you're just not a fan of his!

  • on December 10, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    My XI for this the first test (albeit that de Kock has sadly not been selected!) is: 1. G Smith+ 2. A Peterson 3. H Amla 4. J Kallis 5. AB de Villiers 6. JP Duminy / F du Plessis 7. Q de Kock* 8. V Philander 9. D Steyn 10. M Morkel 11. I Tahir. De Kock is the new Gilchrist - trust me! ;)

  • mahjut on December 10, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    @ StaalBurgher clearly a blind firstly, Tsolokile averages 30 in FC cricket ... partly because since being told he needed to score runs to break into the team - a couple of years ago - he has proceeded to do just that. No average so far this season after two innings (but when he does get out - even for a duck - his average will be no less than 93). Average last season was ordinary by his burgeoning standards (30) but still higher than Elgar who is clearly a pick to appease the StaalBurgher's of SA if ever I saw one!. In the season 2011/12 Tsolokile's FC average was 59.5

    If the replace A Peterson (and I desperately hope they don't), then please rather with de Qock (they've invested so much in him already and now that he's showing occasional glimpses of repaying that investment they look to Elgar to open?) than Elgar.

  • on December 10, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    In order to retain the number one position, South Africa need batsman that are consistent and unfortunately Alvero isn't consistent. There is a good chance that he'll score a century on a flat wicket against an average pace attack and that'll buy him a few more tests but is that what we are ultimately looking for?

  • Andre117 on December 10, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Saurabh Tiwary's FC scores this season: 77, 41, 95, 7, 67, 57, 91, 50*, 238, 38. One failure out of 10 innings. Any reason why he's not in the test side?

  • neiljturner on December 10, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    There is no good reason for Faf du Plessis's place to be under pressure right now. He's played just 13 innings at international level, and averages a whopping 58.5! Now, you might argue that that's just a statistical freak, and his average will come down, but if 13 innings isn't enough to judge him, then trying to suggest he should be dropped because of SEVEN innings without a fifty is ridiculous. (And it's six, really - he was not out in his last knock.)

    Yes, he had a tough time against Pakistan, averaging just 16.5. He's not the first, and he won't be the last, to struggle against that particular bowling attack. Jacques Kallis only managed to average 13 in HIS seven innings against them this year! Must he be dropped too?

  • Unomaas on December 10, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    I would definitely go with a all out pace attack for Wanderers. I don't think India will survive long enough for a spinner to become effective. The only problem with that idea is that Rory can't fulfill the role of a 4th seamer...doesn't have the pace or fitness. You need a fourth seamer that has speed, can bang it in and soften up those batsmen for Steyn and Philander. De Lange would have been excellent for that role.In fact, Hardus Viljoen would have been an excellent choice also. Give them the ball and tell them to bowl the Indian Batsmen's head off!

  • SaulB on December 10, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    What does Mclaren have to do to earn a test call up? great lower order bat and e pretty good seamer.

  • StaalBurgher on December 10, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Abbott ahead of Kleinveldt definitely. Not sure if de Lange is fully reformed, bowling technique-wise, after his back problems. He might need to put in a few 4-day performances again.

  • StaalBurgher on December 10, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    If Tsolekile is the replace for Faf then stick with Faf. Tsolekile averages 25 in domestic 4-day cricket. That is disastrous. A quota pick if I ever saw one.

  • HennopsRiverEnd on December 10, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Hahaha @TommytuckerSaffa... Petersen, Faf (Last chances).

    I agree with the Faf situation, he hasn't made that position his own even after numerous chances. Elgar would be a good replacement.

    Regarding Petersen, I'm not sure who we'd put up there as an opener at the moment and with the Aussies coming to SA, i think it would be best to persist with him and not throw anybody in there until after that series.

    Lastly, Imran should be playing every game of every format.

  • Sachit1979 on December 10, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    They have restricted themselves with options due to poor selection. There was no reason of having Alviro Peterson, Robin Peiterson, Thami Tsolikle, Rory Kleinveldt in the squad. Instead they could have had Quinton de Kock, in form Ashwell Prince, Marchant de Lange and Kyle Abbot to boost their batting power and bowling attack. Anyways with options they have now, best 11 could be Elgar, Smith, Amla, Kallis, deVilliers, Duminy, duPlessis, Philander, Steyn, Morkel and Tahir.

  • on December 10, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    better for S A to go in with 5 pacers, including kallis. Dont think this indian batting line up will last long enough for spinners to come into the equation

  • on December 10, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    My SA playing 11 should be: 1. Amla 2. Smith 3. De Cock 4. Kallis 5. ABD 6. Dumminy 7. Elger 8. Philander 9. Steyn 10. Morkel 11. Imran

    I know De Cock is not the part of squad, but if selectors go for him; his presence in team will provide a huge relief to ABD and also he will go for a big career like Boucher as he is very young right now. India is a weak bowling attack so we can take a chance here.

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on December 10, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Yes, Dean Elgar is a very good opener in test matches with Smith or Amla .He will be solid batsman after KAllis 'retirement because he is an average all rounder , He can fill the spot in ODI cricket at no.3 ,4,5 .good luck .......Mr. Hudson ;think about it...!

  • on December 9, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    well, it anyhow wont take more than 10 men to beat the dross we've sent over. The way we played the one-dayers, we might as well reclassify the tests as onedayers as well. If the present indian side played the england side on current form, cricket would die.

  • on December 9, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Playing Robin Peterson against India is suicide. Simple as that.

  • ksriniasu on December 9, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    In order to keep the series interesting, South Africa should be allowed only 4 batsmen and 2 bowlers. They can loan the rest to India. That way, India will play 16 players, and it will give a chance for the two tests to last 5 days each. If South Africa pick their best 11, the test series will get over in 4 days !!!

  • AB_DeVilliers on December 9, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    I really don't see the issue with bringing de Kock into the squad as a back-up for Faf. I'm sorry but Tsolikile is a quota selection. When we then decide to swap de Kock for Peterson long term, atleast he would have had some game time at number 7 before asking him to open. There are no other credible long term openers in tr domestic scene other than de Kock.

  • on December 9, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    All this talk about which spinner to choose is ridiculous! Robbie P is not a test level spinner and Tahir should play straightaway irrespective of the nature of the wicket! A legspinner is going to be an asset in every condition and SA's thinking with respect to selecting their spinner has always been muddled.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 9, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Simple really. 1. Smith 2.Petersen (last chance) 3. Amla 4.Kallis 5. AB 6.Duminy 7.Elgar/Faff (last chance) 8.Vernon 9.Steyn 10.Morkel 11.Tahir

    Wanders might not have a spinner picked but Durban will have. Kleinveld in the squad is a travesty. My heart goes out to Hendriks, De Lange, Tsotobe and McClaren who lose out.

  • SurlyCynic on December 9, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    I don't see them bringing Tsolekile in, his batting is just too weak (FC avg under 30). Faf is in need of a decent score or his position will be up for grabs, but he batted for a day and a half to save a test against Aus. Could Tsolekile do that? AB gives us the advantage of a batsman at 7 which saved us on that Aus tour, someone like Vilas or Kuhn (De Kock in the future) would make that choice harder as they are all good batsmen.

  • on December 9, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    they should bring de kock in ... the young man looks a fine player of both spin and pace! he could be a great asset to SA in the future and should be given a chance as soon as possible... considering that he opens with Smith Elgar/faf and duminy should fill into no.6 and no.7... in my opinion tahir is a much better spinner than Robbie and should be given a sustained run ...

  • CricketChat on December 9, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    SA need not worry too much about playing 11. As long as Steyn, Philander and Morkel are there and if SA can make around 300 in the 1st and about 200 in the 2nd innings, they are bound to win the tests against Ind. We have already seem what their batsmen are capable of in the ODIs against the same set of bowlers. Tahir can be played depending on the pitch. This should be an easy series win for SA.

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  • CricketChat on December 9, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    SA need not worry too much about playing 11. As long as Steyn, Philander and Morkel are there and if SA can make around 300 in the 1st and about 200 in the 2nd innings, they are bound to win the tests against Ind. We have already seem what their batsmen are capable of in the ODIs against the same set of bowlers. Tahir can be played depending on the pitch. This should be an easy series win for SA.

  • on December 9, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    they should bring de kock in ... the young man looks a fine player of both spin and pace! he could be a great asset to SA in the future and should be given a chance as soon as possible... considering that he opens with Smith Elgar/faf and duminy should fill into no.6 and no.7... in my opinion tahir is a much better spinner than Robbie and should be given a sustained run ...

  • SurlyCynic on December 9, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    I don't see them bringing Tsolekile in, his batting is just too weak (FC avg under 30). Faf is in need of a decent score or his position will be up for grabs, but he batted for a day and a half to save a test against Aus. Could Tsolekile do that? AB gives us the advantage of a batsman at 7 which saved us on that Aus tour, someone like Vilas or Kuhn (De Kock in the future) would make that choice harder as they are all good batsmen.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 9, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Simple really. 1. Smith 2.Petersen (last chance) 3. Amla 4.Kallis 5. AB 6.Duminy 7.Elgar/Faff (last chance) 8.Vernon 9.Steyn 10.Morkel 11.Tahir

    Wanders might not have a spinner picked but Durban will have. Kleinveld in the squad is a travesty. My heart goes out to Hendriks, De Lange, Tsotobe and McClaren who lose out.

  • on December 9, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    All this talk about which spinner to choose is ridiculous! Robbie P is not a test level spinner and Tahir should play straightaway irrespective of the nature of the wicket! A legspinner is going to be an asset in every condition and SA's thinking with respect to selecting their spinner has always been muddled.

  • AB_DeVilliers on December 9, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    I really don't see the issue with bringing de Kock into the squad as a back-up for Faf. I'm sorry but Tsolikile is a quota selection. When we then decide to swap de Kock for Peterson long term, atleast he would have had some game time at number 7 before asking him to open. There are no other credible long term openers in tr domestic scene other than de Kock.

  • ksriniasu on December 9, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    In order to keep the series interesting, South Africa should be allowed only 4 batsmen and 2 bowlers. They can loan the rest to India. That way, India will play 16 players, and it will give a chance for the two tests to last 5 days each. If South Africa pick their best 11, the test series will get over in 4 days !!!

  • on December 9, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Playing Robin Peterson against India is suicide. Simple as that.

  • on December 9, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    well, it anyhow wont take more than 10 men to beat the dross we've sent over. The way we played the one-dayers, we might as well reclassify the tests as onedayers as well. If the present indian side played the england side on current form, cricket would die.

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on December 10, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Yes, Dean Elgar is a very good opener in test matches with Smith or Amla .He will be solid batsman after KAllis 'retirement because he is an average all rounder , He can fill the spot in ODI cricket at no.3 ,4,5 .good luck .......Mr. Hudson ;think about it...!