Boucher dropped, de Villiers to keep
AB de Villiers will keep wicket for South Africa during the limited-overs leg of their tour of West Indies instead of Mark Boucher, whose place in the team is now uncertain. Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, said the new selection panel led by Andrew Hudson was trying out new ideas ahead of the 2011 World Cup, and having de Villiers keep gave him more options.
"AB will be starting with the gloves in the limited-overs matches," Smith said ahead of the first Twenty20 international in Antigua. "There is a new selection committee and a few new ideas. We only have something like 15 ODIs before we get to India for the World Cup, so we have to make every one of them count."
Boucher, 33, has been a near permanent fixture in South Africa's XI across formats since he made his debut in 1997 and has played 131 Tests, 291 ODIs and 25 Twenty20s. Smith said the absence of Boucher's experience in the line-up would have to be made up by the rest of the players.
"When a guy [like Boucher] has played over 300 ODIs you are always going to miss that experience. He has been a talisman of the side for a long period of time now. He has been part of a core group of senior players who have performed regularly," Smith said. "The selectors have taken the decision now to look ahead at some new options, and certainly having AB keep allows you one or two extra options in the line-up. Andrew Hudson has arrived here today and we will sit down together and select the team for the game."
Smith also reflected on a "disappointing" World Twenty20 campaign - South Africa exited in the Super Eights - and said they would be "trying a few new things" to "examine the structure" of the team in Twenty20 and one-day internationals.
"The team has taken a lot of flak back home and rightly so. We have got to take responsibility for that," Smith said. "The team has really worked hard in the last few days we have had here in Antigua, and it is up to the team to perform well here and regain face with the public back home. We have got a few new players who have arrived here and they will provide fresh impetus and momentum. Confidence is an important thing and we need to start the West Indies tour strongly."
South Africa play back-to-back Twenty20 internationals against West Indies on May 19 and 20 before the five-ODI series begins on May 22.