Some experienced players missed out in South Africa’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, announced on Thursday, 9 September.
The squad does not feature all-rounder Chris Morris, former captain Faf du Plessis, and veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir. Tahir and du Plessis, in particular, had retired from the longer formats of the game, with one eye on playing in the upcoming World Cup.
Temba Bavuma will captain a young side in the UAE – he is suffering from a thumb injury right now due to which he also missed out some matches in the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka. However, he is expected to recover in time for the world cup. Another big surprise was that the left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has found a place in the squad. Let us remind you that Maharaj hasn’t played a single T20I.So to pick him up for the T20 World Cup without international T20 experience has raised eyebrows of many cricket experts.
Maharaj will captain South Africa during the upcoming T20I series in Sri Lanka in regular captain Bavuma’s absence, and Victor Mpitsang, CSA’s convenor of selectors, said the 31-year-old would be a priceless addition to the squad during the T20 World Cup.
“Kesh is an excellent leader,” said Mpitsang. “He has the backing of the team and us as a panel. He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday.
“His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup.”
Speaking about former captain Faf Du Plessis’s absence, Victor Mptisang said, “Faf has got a wonderful record. But at the moment, we want to be consistent in selection and this is the group of players we have gone with.”
Chris Morris, the most expensive bid of IPL 2021, also had tough luck as he did not find a place in the squad. The fast-bowling allrounder has not played for South Africa in two years and earlier this year revealed that he had no idea if he had a future with the team.
“It’s the subcontinent and with the IPL being played before the tournament so we know the wickets will take a lot of spin. We have to look at the balance of the squad,” Mpitsang said in a television broadcast. “There is no better time than now for us to bring home the trophy and bring the nation together in a way that only sport can. We hope that South Africans will rally behind this team and cheer them all the way to the final.”