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Johan Botha has said South Africa's one-off Twenty20 international against India on Friday will be an opportunity for fringe players to impress ahead of the World Twenty20. Botha, who will lead South Africa in the match, said resting some of the senior players from the squad would give South Africa an opportunity to test some young players against quality opposition.
"There are some world-class pros sitting out but we have some young guys who have done well in the MiWAY T20 Challenge and it will be a good introduction to international cricket for them, to be playing against a top team," Botha said.
South Africa have included the uncapped Dane Vilas and Farhaan Behardien in their 13-man squad, both of who finished in the top ten on the run-charts in the MiWAY T20. They have also picked Morne van Wyk, who has not played for South Africa since the 2011 one-day World Cup.
"You don't want to put pressure on the young guys saying this is your only chance," Botha said, "but the senior players will come back into the team after they've rested and there's only a few games left before the World T20. So this is an opportunity for the fringe players to seal a spot in the World T20 squad."
Gary Kirsten, the South Africa coach, had joked that it might be hard for him to stay awake through the game because he would have had very little rest after a long flight from New Zealand. Botha, however, said the players would take the game seriously and would try to do well for Jacques Kallis, to whom the game is being dedicated.
"With the World Twenty20 coming up in October, every T20 game is important and you can learn in every game. Hopefully, we can make it 1-1 after losing to India in the one-off Twenty20 we played when they toured last year. We want to do well for Jacques, who is a legend in South African cricket."
The players did not train together before the game but Botha said they were prepared enough. "Most of us have played in the T20 challenge, so we'll come in ready, with a few days of rest [the previous game in the MiWAY T20 was on March 25], and just play. Often players over-train and overthink, so this could work. Gary always leaves it up to the players. It's our responsibility. If guys want to go work on something tomorrow there's still time before the game."
Edited by Dustin Silgardo