South Africa’s Selection Questions: South Africa is already without their veteran player since 2021, Temba Babvuma, for their three-Test series against England. And they are hoping they will not have to be without the best bowler too.
Pacer Kagiso Rabada has an ankle injury and gets his bowling loads up to play in the opening match at Lord’s next week.
African Test skipper Elgar and head coach Mark Boucher have said Rabada’s availability is a top priority for the team.
“He has bowled since we started our camp in Canterbury. Obviously, workload is the biggest concern – whether he can carry himself throughout a Test match with the intensity and volume of overs in a day’s play. For now, he is doing all the right things,” Elgar said, addressing the media for the first time since his arrival in England. “I can’t say yes or no (to whether he will play) as yet. There are eight or nine days before the first Test and it’s high on our list to get him fit and going.”
Nortje picked up the problem at last year’s T20 World Cup and came back at the IPL and in subsequent white-ball series for South Africa and has looked back to his best. He was South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in the recently completed ODIs against England and is bowling at good speeds of up to 150kph. “It’s great to have Anrich back. The way he is bowling in the nets and the way he bowled in the white ball game is good for us. He brings a lot of pace to the table,” Elgar said.
“Temba’s injury has been a massive setback for all of us. In Test cricket he has been brilliant,” Elgar said. “We have three guys up for that position: Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen and Khaya Zondo. Whether we go for experience or if we are going to go with a guy who is inexperienced at Test cricket, is still a discussion we need to have. We still have quite a few days until that decision has to be made but we do have resources.”
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At the least, Elgar suggested Rickelton has given the selectors a conundrum. “The biggest thing with Ryan is that he was given an opportunity and I felt he took the opportunity with both hands. He has done everything the right way. And he has put the numbers on the board,” Elgar said. “He has done everything to give the selectors a bit of a headache but it’s a good headache to have if you have guys coming in and contributing the way he has.”
“Conditions have a massive role to play with regards to that style of cricket. I’m not too concerned about the way they have gone about their things of late. The biggest thing for me is to focus on my team. It’s been an interesting style and caused a few conversations around the world but I’m not too concerned about that.”
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