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October 24, 2009
Mike Procter, South Africa's convener of selectors, has backed opener Herschelle Gibbs to bounce back after being dropped from the ODI and Twenty20 squads to face Zimbabwe and England at home next month. Procter explained that Gibbs' inconsistency had cost him his place and added that his omission will leave the door open for experimentation at the top of the order.
Gibbs failed to get going for the Cape Cobras in the Champions League Twenty20 in India, scoring just 43 runs in four games. He scored 42 of those in the semi-final against Trinidad and Tobago but prior to that, recorded two first-ball ducks.
"We have lost patience with his inconsistency and I had a chat with him this morning and we agreed that he has been inconsistent," Procter told Supercricket. "We have to keep 2011 [the World Cup] in mind and we need to spread our wings a bit. But the door is not closed for Herschelle, although it will be tough for him. 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."
Procter said the team management had discussed the possibility of Jacques Kallis opening the batting with captain Graeme Smith, instead of Lions opening batsman Alviro Petersen, who was recalled to the squad. However, Procter added that the batting order was still flexible.
"Mickey Arthur (the coach) and Graeme [Smith] want Jacques to open and AB [de Villiers] will then move up to three and JP Duminy to four," Procter said. "We're looking at Alviro at five. We know it's out of position, but we believe he can adapt and he has been a prolific run-scorer in the last couple of seasons.
"But we have so many options. Hashim Amla or Alviro could open if the Smith-Kallis partnership does not work and we're also looking to take pressure off Albie Morkel in terms of his bowling. We'd like to take the responsibility of bowling ten overs off his shoulders and he can make up for it with the bat. We'd like to play him at six and use him as more of a pure batsman."
Charl Langeveldt also earned a recall after relinquishing his Kolpak status and Procter praised the fast bowler for making himself available for national selection. The uncapped allrounder Ryan McLaren, a proven performer with Kent, too dropped his Kolpak status and was named in the squads.
"We're absolutely thrilled to be able to choose Charl again," Procter said. "He bowls very well at the death and he's able to get both late and reverse swing."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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