'Proteas need to stop playing around with ODI team for betterment'

Johannesburg: South Africa should stop playing around with its one-day squad for its betterment ahead of its series against Pakistan, starting on March 10 at Bloemfontein, according to cricket writer, Rob Houwing.

"South Africa, needing to firm up their plans fairly swiftly for the ICC Champions Trophy in mid-year, cannot afford to experiment too much more as they embark on the five-match one-day international series against Pakistan this weekend," Houwing wrote in his column for Sport24.

"If the Protease`` Twenty20 brew seems in a fairly alarming state of uncertainty and instability, a greater sense of continuity is arguably required at 50-overs level over the next two or three weeks if they are to be capable of mounting a cohesive, serious challenge in the closing edition of the Champions Trophy," he added.

"So it is difficult to imagine the team`s brains trust not trying to assemble something as close as possible to a desired "first team" during the contests against the Pakistanis," he further wrote.

Houwing added: "South Africa has a 15-player squad for this particular series, but it may already be too late to fiddle too greatly with combinations."

"That said, a delicate balance may have to be struck because they are sure to be tempted, for instance, to gauge at some point how Test debut bowling sensation Kyle Abbott might fare in maiden ODI activity," he further said.

"They will also be mindful of the fact that the resting, veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis and (if fit by then) middle-order batsman and useful "offie" JP Duminy are almost certain to be included for the trip to the UK in early June," he concluded.