Zimbabwe Twenty20 triangular series 2012 May 30, 2012

Du Plessis, Chris Morris get South Africa T20 call-up


Faf du Plessis, the middle order batsman, has been named in South Africa's 15-man squad for the unofficial Twenty20 tri-series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, in Zimbabwe in June, while Chris Morris, the Highveld Lions allrounder, has received a maiden call-up.

The squad will be led by Johan Botha. AB de Villiers, allrounder Jacques Kallis and the fast-bowling pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have been rested because all four played extensively during the recent IPL and will likely be needed in all three formats for the upcoming series against England.

Du Plessis has played 21 ODIs for South Africa but has never been part of the Twenty20 squad. He staked a claim for a place in the shortest format after a successful stint with Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2012. Du Plessis, who opened the batting and scored three half-centuries, held the orange cap for being the leading scorer in the tournament at one stage, although he finished 13th on the batting charts.

In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, du Plessis said, "If I could pick where to bat in 20-over cricket, I would say I'd like to open. It suits my style of batting because I am someone who can hit the ball over the top and along the ground, and I've learned when to hold back and when to go for it."

Du Plessis has been tipped to open the batting with world-record holder Richard Levi, although that would probably come at the expense of limited-overs vice-captain Hashim Amla. While du Plessis' inclusion in the national squad was expected, Morris' came as a complete surprise to everyone, including himself.

"One of my former provincial coaches, Lawrence Mahatlane called me up to say congratulations and I wasn't sure what he was talking about," Morris, who has also been picked in the South Africa A side to play Sri Lanka A, told ESPNcricinfo. "I don't know what to do yet. I'm not sure if I should jump and down or what. I was just happy to be playing franchise cricket and I didn't even think about the national side at all. I've come such a long way in such a short time, that definitely wasn't in my thoughts."

Morris has just completed his first full season as a franchise cricketer, having been spotted by former Highveld Lions coach Gordon Parsons in Centurion in 2009.

"Gordon saw me there and asked me if I wanted to go to trials at the Lions and I did," he said. "Before that I was playing club cricket in Pretoria and to be honest, I didn't really set the scene alight. But then I got offered to go to the Lions academy and the rest is history. The Lions have taught me everything I know about my game."

After playing in the amateur competition for a season, Morris was contracted to the Lions for the 2011-12 season. He scored two half-centuries and took 23 wickets at an average of 26.00 in the first-class competition and was the leading bowler overall in the MiWay T20 competition, with 21 wickets. It was his performances in the shortest format that earned him his national call-up.

"He was also very effective as a lower order hitter and played a very significant role in getting the Lions to the final," Cricket South Africa's selection convenor, Andrew Hudson, said.

Morris opened the bowling and stepped up to bowl at the death as well, two roles he has enjoyed. "I wanted that kind of responsibility because when I have that, then I focus more," Morris said.

While Morris has played club cricket in England before, he has never travelled as part of a tour, except at school, and has also never been to Zimbabwe. Most of the national squad are relative strangers to him as he has only met them as opponents occasionally in the past.

"I'm really excited and really looking forward to it," he said. "The more I can talk to people, the more I am going to learn."

The rest of the squad includes players who have been given opportunity in the past. Both Farhaan Behardien and Dane Vilas featured in South Africa's XI for a one-off Twenty20 against India in March. Behardien has been a consistent performer for the Titans in the last few seasons and will bat in the middle-order, while Dane Vilas will don the wicketkeeping gloves.

Botha continues as captain, after he also led the team in the match against India, an indication that he remains part of South Africa's World Twenty20 plans. He will be released from his national contract after the ICC event in September to captain South Australia and will not participate in the South African domestic season.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sanjai on June 1, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    South Africa ODI Team: Amla,Smith,kallis,AB,faf,JP,Albie,Peterson,Steyn,Morkel,Tsotsobe.

    SA TEST team: Petersen,Smith,Amla,Kallis,AB,Faf,JP,Philander,Steyn,Morkel,Tahir

    SA T20 team : Levi,Faf,Ingram,JP,AB,Ontong,Albie,Botha,Parnell,Steyn,Morkel.

  • Deepak on May 31, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Farhaan Behardien is such a talent. I have seen many good T20 batsmen, but this guy Behardien stands out.. He should get a chance in ODIs too instead of guys like Ingram and Miller. IPL teams, here's your target for next season's auction.

  • Aravind on May 31, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    gayle,simmons(wk),darrenbravo,samuels,dwaynebravo,pollard,russell,sammy,narine,rampaul,roach.........bishoo,edwards,smith,barath,chanderpaul dis wud b de team to beat....nd mayb de eventual winners

  • dawn prakash on May 31, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    How about this team for a competition?

    1. Gayle, 2.Lendle Simmons (wk), 3. Marlon Samuels, 4. Dwayne Bravo, 5. Keiron Pollard, 6. Dwayne Smith, 7. Darren Sammy, 8. Andre Russel, 9. Ravi Rampaul, 10. Sunil Narine, 11. Kemar Roach Rest of the squad: 12. Cooper, 13. Darren Bravo, 14. Ramdin (wk)

  • Paul on May 31, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    SA - you are finally getting it right. Pick a test side, an ODI side and a side for T20 - all based on specialist talents. I have been asking for this for years.

  • Grant on May 30, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    Quinton De Kock isn't there as he is in camp at the moment with the SA u19s at the National Academy ahead of the u19 CWC. His time will come. Rossouw and Elgar are talents but aren't in the best T20 players yet. Test players of the future though! Don't know why people are calling for David Wiese to get recognition! This team has some interesting new options. Particularly interested to see how Behardien, Vilas and Morris go. All are match winners and I think they can take it to international level.

  • Mohsin on May 30, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    this SA team will lose to BD by some huge margins

  • Jayaesh on May 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    If this series is just supposed to be a warm-up or unofficial then why not pick Quinton de kock best young explosive wicketkeeper batsmen Proteas have to offer or David Wiese another very exiting young all rounder and perhaps Rilee Russuow in there too,cmon Mr Hudson and co show some more imagination and go for these young talented players.

  • Daniel on May 30, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    For those asking, this series is unofficial because the ICC restricts the number of official T20s a team can play in a year. The series is going ahead because the teams involved want extra match practice ahead of the World T20.

  • Rajesh on May 30, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    LOL- what a mouth watering tri-series. Does the BCB want the new coach to run away after this tri series. Why waste time on Unofficial series .Who is going to be benefited by this series- financially or experience wise?

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