by Trevor Chesterfield
South Africa are entering a new year with a new policy by dishing out ODI (T20-version) caps to Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Lonwabo (Lopsy) Tsotsobe in the opening T20 match against Australia at the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
With the second of the two games in Brisbane on Tuesday, the Proteas coach Mickey Arthur has admitted to unveiling a new selection policy as the view is how the two debutants will bring new ideas to the team.
The plan is to bat Van Jaarsveld at five in what is a young middle-order that has AB de Villiers at three and JP Duminy at four, while Tsotsobe will share the new ball with veteran Makhaya Ntini.
Arthur decided to include both Ntini and Dale Steyn, in spite of their workload in the Test series, because there was a need for experience in guiding the younger players through the seething cauldron that the MCG will become in front of an expected crowd of at least 70 000 people.
Two other old hands, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis will open the batting.
Arthur said that the performance of the new, younger players could not be judged purely in runs, wickets and the end result but also on other factors such as how they formulated and executed their game plans.
At the same time he said the arrival of new faces would help to refresh the squad for what was being treated as a totally new tour.
‘Fresh faces are very good at this stage of the tour,’ said Arthur. ‘It has been a long haul for us. They have all have had to work very hard through the Test series, so to get some new young faces on board is very good.
”Understand, we have closed the book on the Test tour. We see this as another tour for us. We are in the process of rebuilding our one-day side and there are going to be opportunities to blood younger players here, so it is going to be interesting to see how they stand up.
‘We are nowhere near the finished article at ODI level. Our goal is to be there in two years’ time when the World Cup comes about. We started building our Test team for this tour two years’ ago and we are now going through the same process with the one-day side.
‘I see it as a very exciting phase for us, I see it as a very exciting challenge for the younger players and I am really looking forward to seeing how they stand up,’ were his comments from Melbourne.
He also revealed that he had identified Gibbs to play a leading role as an experienced batsman in the run-up to the World Cup over the next two years.
‘Herschelle is a highly talented player whom we have identified to go on to the World Cup,’ Arthur acknowledged. ‘This applies particularly to the sub-continent where the tournament will be played and where, I might add, Herschelle has an outstanding record.
‘I am expecting him to lead the batting. I have told him that. I want to see him bat with the responsibility of being a major senior player. He is certainly aware of that. I hope he rises to that challenge. He is certainly very hungry, fit and mentally refreshed, so I am looking forward to seeing him hit form.
‘I know he is very keen to do well out here and repay the faith that we have always shown in Herschelle Gibbs.’
Proteas’ XI: Johan Botha (capt), Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.
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