Dean Elgar has been backed by Ottis Gibson as a ‘like-for-like’ replacement for Hashim Amla in ODIs.
The Proteas head coach once again emphasised the Zimbabwe and Australia series as the last opportunities for players to stake their claims for World Cup selection. Gibson and the selectors will assess all their options and finalise their side leading into the Pakistan and Sri Lanka series.
The Proteas have evidently been playing around with their batting lineup, with the one certainty being the opening partnership of Quinton de Kock and Amla.
With an injury to Amla, the Proteas were forced to find a replacement opener. According to Gibson, Elgar is the answer.
‘We tried to give opportunities. If you look at the opportunities we have given over the last 12 months, we picked a lot of youngsters,’ said Gibson on Wednesday.
‘When you look at the squad we have now – Faf [du Plessis] is missing, Quinny is missing and Hash is missing and there are no real seniors and Dean is a like-for-like swap for Hash.
‘When you think of the World Cup and you think about Dean’s record – with almost every county he played for in England, then clearly he comes into the conversation.
‘So this gives us the opportunity to see Dean as a like-for-like replacement for Hash and see how it goes. He’s always made it clear that he wants to play ODI cricket so this gives us the opportunity to see him in that position.’
The Proteas have also been experimenting with the No 6 position, a specialist role seemingly fitting for a big-hitting player. Finding cover in each batting position was stressed by Gibson.
‘We wanted to see [Heinrich] Klaasen a bit longer. Christiaan Jonker came in and did well for us in the T20. His numbers in the franchise system are pretty good,’ Gibson continued.
‘What we set out to do from the outset is to have two players in every position. We know what David [Miller] can do. Obviously he hasn’t had a lot of runs lately, but this gives us the opportunity to see Jonker in that position.
‘So Christiaan and David can then [rotate] and we can then assess both of them and then see which one of them we can go with going forward.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images
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