India will be gasping a sign of relief. That's because their tormentor in the recently-concluded Tests, Jacques Kallis, has been ruled out of the upcoming one-day series between South Africa and India. The reason - he was struck by a Sreesanth bouncer on the chest during his first innings of the last Test and doctors project a two-week recovery period for him.
But the Indian batsmen will have to fine-tune their eyesight and their prowess at playing spinning deliveries. The dreaded Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who has greatly impressed at the domestic level, has been chosen in the one-day team. He became eligible to play for the national side after being granted South African citizenship recently.
A wrist spinner is a rarity in South Africa's bowling attack and with a pressing need for one right now, Tahir fits the bill . He has taken 15 wickets at an average of 17.00 in nine matches in the South African domestic one-day competition MTN40, this season, and in his 96 List A appearances has 140 scalps at an average of 22.74.
Tahir is all set to make his one-day debut along with another hero of the MTN40 tournament. Faf du Plessis scored 567 runs, including three centuries, and boasted an average of 81. He is also a handy leg-break bowler and athletic fielder. Plessis has even been included in the preliminary World Cup squad.
South Africa have picked five spinners in their squad in preparation for the World Cup in the subcontinent which starts on February 19. Tahir and du Plessis join forces with Johan Botha, JP Duminy and Robin Petersen to form an infantry of slow bowling.
The five match series is South Africa's last outing before the Word Cup. The first match will be played in Durban on Wednesday.
South Africa ODI squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Petersen, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe