As crunch time against India nears, the South African selection board has made some bold decisions. They have retained middle-order batsmen Ashwell Prince while dropping the other contender for the No. 6 spot J P Duminy. Also off-spinner Johan Botha and left-arm paceman Wayne Parnell have been dumped ahead of the first Test against India on Dec 16 at Centurion.
Duminy, Botha and Parnell were all included in the initial 15-member Test squad, but were eliminated from the trimmed-down dozen's list so that they could be released to play in this year's Super Sport domestic season. Duminy will represent the Cobras while Parnell and Botha will play for the Warriors.
Since Parnell is out of the race for the fourth seamer's position, Ryan McLaren and Lonwabo Tsotsobe enter the fray. Both the fast men are relatively inexperienced with McLaren just playing one Test so far and picking up 1 wicket, while Tsotsobe has appeared in two and has taken two scalps.
Meanwhile, Paul Harris was chosen over Johan Botha perhaps because he had a slightly more successful Test series against Pakistan in the UAE last month. Harris took 5 wickets from the on Test he played while Botha features in both matches of the series taking 6 wickets altogether.
It seems the selectors turned to Prince's experience over Duminy. While the former has appeared in a total of 59 matches, the latter has only played 12 tests to date. Prince's average is also more impressive at 43.80 with 11 centuries to Duminy's 40.91 with 1 ton.
South Africa Squad -
Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Mark Boucher (wk), Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ryan McLaren, Paul Harris, Hashim Amla, Alviro Petersen.