It is always a mystery how cricket in South Africa has been run. Ashwell Prince has been a fighter in the SA team for years, after maturing into one of SA’s most consistent batsman since our re-admission to cricket. Prince lost his place to Duminy and quite rightfully didn’t get it back from him. However there was certainly a spot for him in place of Mackenzie, yet this never happened. Prince has been recalled to the test squad, not only to fill the openers role, but to captain the side. Strange how Prince was dropped form the side then re-instated as captain. Even stranger was the captaincy was taken away from him not many hours later. I hope Prince is a lot more intelligent than I am, as I couldn’t figure out quite how that happened!!!
I recall the young Ashwell Prince, a man who was tempted by the hook and pull shot all too often. That young lad fell into the trap every time. Unsurprisingly Ashwell got the chop after chasing one too many early on in the innings and returned to provincial cricket to mature.
Prince returned to the international scene a far better player, a player who has steadied the shaky South African ship more often than he should have, which is how SA went unbeaten for 10 tests. The unfortunate injury cost him his place and the very fortunate Neil Mackenzie kept his place.
Prince will return to the SA test side as an opener next week, a position he would be unfamiliar with, however this week in the Supersport series, Ashwell has opened for the Warriors and has sent a warning to Australia, he is quite comfortable opening the batting. Prince is currently 171* at the close of play, I am sure his nerves were calmed down by the next great opening batsman for South Africa, Jon Jon Smuts who made 46 and let Prince steal the limelight.
The Warriors are a side to watch, Lopsy Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell play there as well as Prince, Kallis and Boucher. JT Smuts will be the next big name from the Warriors, perhaps after he has finished his studies at UPE, as Smuts is a fairly serious guy about things like academics.
Cricket South Africa have released their contracted platyers for the coming year, a big congratulations to Lonwabo Tsotsobe a thoroughly deserved inclusion. Those who have fallen out of favour include Andre Nel, Monde Zondeki and Robin Peterson.
The focus is on the Australians and kicks off on Thursday for the first test.
Contracted players: (from May 2009 to April 2010) Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
This tournament is a benchmark to get the fringe players into the National side and has helped players like Philander make a name for himself. SA has performed well in this competition – often SA have taken players with international experience which generally the other sides don’t have. Watch out for Wayne Parnell fresh from the u19 World cup. Dean Elgar is a definite up and coming youngster to watch and Henry Davids has had the season of his life.
“We have won this competition in the last two years, beating Australia and New Zealand in the final. This is a tough competition and the experience gained by our players is invaluable for the later international tours”, Vince van der Bijl, Cricket South Africa’s High Performance general manager said.
Ahmed Amla (capt), Yusuf Abdullah, Werner Coetzee, Henry Davids, CJ de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Imraan Khan, Rory Kleinveldt, Wayne Parnell, Daryn Smit (wk), Blake Snijman, Thandi Tshabalala, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Vaughan van Jaarsveld.
The SA Emerging Players Squad is: Johan Botha (Captain)
Thami Tsolekile (Vice-Captain)
Friedel de Wet
Faf du Plessis
The side has some fantastic players in it, players that could be the future of South African cricket. One wonders where Morne van Wyk is, and Loots Bosman?? They might be too old but if that the case what is Tsolekile and Ontang doing there? Especially Ontong, who had represented SA against Australia 5 years ago!! He has also played 20 odd ODI’s for SA. Botha after being found to have a suspect bowling action, can be understood in his inclusion.
Players unlucky to not be there are Dale Steyn (unless he is going to be a fixture in the side and is no longer considered an emrging plyer) Ryan Mclaren who could become an incredible all rounder for SA in the future, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, a man who scored a 50 on debut while still in school, something that hasnt happened for many years in a provincial match!!! Blake Snijman also seems to have lots of talent as well as the Cobras Rory Kleinveldt.
There are many that could represent the emerging squad, but there are some good talent going and it will be interesting to see they perform, especially Morkel (brother of Albie), Tsotsobe and De wet as SA are in desperate need of quality quickies!!!