South Africa in Sri Lanka 2006 June 16, 2006

Gibbs at No.4, Tshabalala to wait for debut

Cricinfo staff

Gibbs: slotted at No.4 © Getty Images
According to Haroon Lorgat, South Africa's convenor of selectors, Herschelle Gibbs will move to No. 4 in the batting order and Thandi Tshabalala is unlikely to play the first Test in Sri Lanka.

The website SuperCricket reported that Lorgat confirmed this decision after he announced the 14-man squad for the two Tests, saying: "I always make sensible decisions." Gibbs has replaced Jacques Kallis, out for rehabilitation from elbow surgery, and has been slotted down the order to continue the Graeme Smith-Boeta Dippenaar opening combination.

On Tshabalala's selection, Lorgat said: "The principle reason for Thandi's selection is for him to gain exposure and experience and it is very unlikely that he will play in the first test." He added that the team management would keep a close eye on the 21-year-old in an attempt to ascertain when he would be ready to make the next step. "Judging by how he goes in practice and once he has been in those conditions for a week or two, we will not hesitate to choose him when he is ready," Lorgat said. "We will play it by 'eye', if you like, but we would be bold enough to use him."

Lorgat also said that Johan Botha, the offspinner whose action was deemed illegal by the ICC, was on the mend. "Johan has done lots of remedial work with Vincent Barnes at the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town and Shafiek Abrahams at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, and also with Russell Domingo, his coach back home," he said. "The corrections to his action have been done and now it's all about him bowling as much as possible so the changes become habit. Before the start of next season he will have a test in South Africa just so we can be confident he will meet the ICC's regulations. After that he will go for the formal, independent testing in Perth."

South Africa play the first of two Tests in Colombo from July 27.