South African Invitation XI v Sri Lankans, Benoni December 6, 2011

Thami Tsolekile to lead Invitation XI against Sri Lankans

ESPNcricinfo staff

Wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile will captain the South African Invitation XI in a three-day tour match against the Sri Lankans, starting on December 9 in Benoni. Five members of the squad who played against the touring Australians in November have been retained.

The selectors were unable to pick players from two of South Africa's six franchises, Cobras and Warriors, because they will contest the domestic one-day cup final on December 9. As a result players such as Wayne Parnell and JP Duminy, who are considered to be on the fringes of the Test squad, were unavailable for selection.

The schedule gave other promising players such as Lions' batsman Temba Bavuma and Titans fast bowler Hardus Viljoen an opportunity to represent the Invitation XI. "We have chosen a mix of players who have shown good form in the various domestic competitions and those who have been identified as having the potential to move up to a higher level," Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors said.

Batsmen Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw have performed impressively for Knights and Lions bowler Pumi Matshikwe is the second highest wicket-taker in the SuperSport Series this season. The likes of Tsolekile and left-arm spinner Paul Harris could force their way into the national squad with good showings in the tour match.

Tsolekile had replaced the injured Heino Kuhn as wicketkeeper of the A side against the Australians. Tsolekile was long thought of as the No. 2 wicketkeeper in the country, after Boucher, but fell out of favour with the emergence of Kuhn. He appears to be back in the selector's minds as the succession debate continues, with Boucher's poor batting form against Australia fuelling calls for a replacement to be groomed more seriously.

Harris, who missed his first Test in four years when he was replaced by legspinner Imran Tahir for the Australia series, also has the opportunity to stake a claim for a recall. Batsman Dean Elgar is the other player who will be watched closely as the race for national berths heats up. Elgar has been a part of numerous A tours and is regularly among the top ten batsmen in the SuperSport Series. He has been tipped as one of the players who could form part of South Africa's experimentation against Sri Lanka.

Opening batsman Alviro Petersen was among the notable absentees from the squad. Petersen was dropped from the Test squad to make room for in-form Jacques Rudolph but scored a century on a spicy pitch in Potchefstroom against the Australians. He is in Namibia and CSA granted him permission to miss the tour match.

Fast bowler Marchant de Lange is also not part of the squad. de Lange took five wickets against the Australians in Potchefstroom was not considered because of injury. He dislocated his thumb and will be assessed by the Titans physio later in the week. Albie Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whose place in the Test XI was taken by Vernon Philander, are still recovering from side strains while Ryan McLaren is also injured.

South African Invitation XI: Thami Tsolekile, Temba Bavuma, Farhaan Behardien, Dean Elgar, Paul Harris, Reeza Hendricks, Pumelela Matshikwe, Rilee Rossouw, Stiaan van Zyl, Hardus Viljoen, David Wiese.

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  • Gordon on December 9, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    Quinton de Kock is another one which I am very interested in. He is only 18 and yet he has great figures with both gloves and bat. It looks like he likes to bat at number three though.

  • Gordon on December 7, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    I am glad to see FatBoysCanBat that I am not the only one behind David Wiese. I seriously hope he does in the end replace Kallis. To me it would be great if some how they could even play together but I am not certain that could or would happen. And I also agree with you on Dane Vilas the guy looks to have the goods. But I also think about the next wicketkeeper it will come down to mostly these two Heino Kuhn and Dane Vilas mostly due to the fact they are younger than Tsolekile. I am a fan of Athenkosi Dyili also but of course his stats with the bat are not fantastic but still maybe if he keeps on making more runs they may look better but he looks abit rather inconsistant at the moment. Not to forget also Davy Jacobs even though he is abit older than the others mentioned.

  • Ryan on December 7, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    David Wiese is a potential replacement for Jacques Kallis, who will have to retire eventually. He has a first-class bowling avg of 24 and a bat avg of 41. He would be perfect to bat at 6 or 7 in the test side. My pick for Bouchers replacement is Dane Vilas, he is an exceptional glove man and a very good batsman - highlighted by a first-class avg of 46. I first noticed him about 4 years ago when he first started making big runs - I think he was averaging about 41 around that time. At that stage I did not think he would be able to maintain that prodigious scoring but he has continued to get better.

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Also, baffled at the inclusion of Hardus Viljoen. I've seen the guy play - he is very fast, but bowls at least one or two wides an over. He has no control over where the delivery is going. He's too raw and needs a lot of work beofre he can be considered for Franchise cricket - let alone playing for SA "A" or any equivalents like this invitational XI. What about a guy like CJ de Villiers - who has been around at the Diamond Eagles (now the Knights) and more recently at the Titans for a couple of years?

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    The problem is that Tsolekile is already 31. The man isnt a long term replacement. We need to be looking at the youngsters like Quinton de Kock. I wouldn't play him in the proteas just yet, though. Get someone like Tsolekile or Daryn Smit (whose had a very good season with the bat) in for a couple of years and have de Kock in and around the squad. I'm sad to say it, but if Boucher doesnt perform against the Sri Lankans we need to thank him for his services and send him on his way. He was a great player, but it looks more and more like his time is up.

  • Rajith on December 6, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    I would love to see Srilanka doing the same for South Africa when they tour Srilanka. Going one further step we can give them a practice match with our All island school team.

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    so as KW said. this side will beat srilanka right?

  • avinash on December 6, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Albie Morkel , Lonwabo Tsotsobe,Ryan McLaren,Marchant de Lange injuries this year can be definitely be the year of injuries,is cricinfo counting no of injured players in international cricket,then this would be the most injured players in a year.i consider too much competition and over load to give their best every game with too matches to be played may be the reason and sl should be able beat this team to get some confidence before the star of the tour.thami tsolekile is 31 for a wicket keeper it will be tough for the age.Dane Vilas would have been a good option any way we this gives good opportunity for Dean Elgar and paul harris to make int final X1 against sri lanka.

  • Lakmal on December 6, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    all the best to the "Experimental XI" against our team. so, on 15th the first test match is between "Srilankans vs Edisons XI".

  • Daniel on December 6, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Its good that some of the form players/promising talents are being given a chance, but it would have been nice to put out a full strength team and give the sri lankans a battering ahead of the 3 tests.An 'A' team of Elgar, Peterson, Rousssow, van Zyl, Duminy, Kuhn, Wiese, Mclaren, Tsotsobe, Harris and de Lange would have been a seriously strong XI. With players like Ingram, Hendricks, Matshikwe, Parnell and Behardien and AJ Pienaar we have some serious depth in reserve right now. Hopefully these guys can go on a few A team tours and build up some experience

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