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Sun Apr 20 12:51:22 SAST 2014

Thami gets a chance to play

MARK SALTER in London | 26 July, 2012 08:080 Comments
England And South Africa Nets Session
Thami Tsolekile of South Africa with local school children during a coaching clinic in aid of Nelson Mandela Day at The Oval on July 18, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Gareth Copley / Getty Images

THE South Africa team is expected to remain the same for the second test against England in Leeds next week, so the two-day match against Worcestershire starting Friday provides an opportunity for the unfortunate few fringe players to show their worth and keep match fit.

It is likely that the match will be played in a similar format to that played in Taunton, when all the players were given a run, except that some, such as Hashim Amla, might be given a rest after his 311 heroics in London. In the absence of captain Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers will call the shots.

 It would sensible to play Thami Tsolekile, particularly. He was called up as a reserve keeper to shadow De Villiers after the tragic injury which ended Mark Boucher’s career on the first day of the tour in Taunton. That would enable De Villiers to relax as a specialist batsman, and keep Tsolekile honed in the advent of any other disruption to the best-laid plans.

That applies, too, to Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whose left-arm seam is a useful option to be utilised if the circumstances warrant it.

Worcestershire, languishing in the basement of division one of the county championship with one win in nine, will field a second-string team as most of their front-line players are involved in the T20 series, playing Yorkshire Wednesday. At least Albie Morkel, called up to replace the injured Marchant de Lange, got some match experience on Tuesday night, featuring in Somerset’s T20 win over Essex.

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