Johannesburg: South Africa selectors might face a selection conundrum due to lack of quality off spinner in the shortest format of the game ahead of their three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand, according to sports writer Rob Houwing. “South Africa will probably find themselves short on an ingredient that has generally served them well when they face New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals shortly: off-spin,” Houwing wrote in his column.
“Both at T20 and one-day international level, the Proteas have enjoyed in recent times the variety offered - albeit particularly on slower, turning tracks - by a frontline spin arsenal featuring “offie” Johan Botha and the left-arm fare of Robin Peterson, supplemented by the further, often under-rated off-spin of middle-order batsman JP Duminy,” he added. “But Duminy is a long-term injury casualty who will not see any international activity on home soil this season, so that element has been automatically lost,” he further wrote.
Houwing added: “Andrew Hudson’s SA selection panel might still consider the claims of Botha, who now leads South Australia in all formats of the game Down Under on a two-year deal, before they announce a T20 squad on Thursday to face the Black Caps.” “The wily 30-year-old is an interesting case because he has not officially retired from international cricket, despite his faraway location in the southern hemisphere summer clearly now counting against him to a great extent,” he added. “Incumbent player Peterson, who also successfully restarted his Test career after a lengthy absence in the decisive encounter against Australia at Perth recently, seems a virtual certainty to be included in the squad,” he further wrote.
“That probably leaves room for a shootout between rookie Aaron Phangiso of the Lions and the more experienced Titans competitor Roelof van der Merwe for an extra spin slot,” he wrote. “The only drawback, perhaps, is that all of Peterson, Van der Merwe and Phangiso are left-armers, robbing South Africa of the ability to take the ball “the other way” in the slow-bowling department,” he concluded.