Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
3 minute read
27 Dec 2021
4:03 pm

Rain washes out second day of Test as Olivier’s non-selection explained

Ken Borland

Rain in Centurion prevented a ball being bowled in the first Test between the Proteas and India.

Rain washed out the second day's play in the first Test between South Africa and India in Centurion on Monday. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Not even the downpours that washed out the entire second day’s play of the first Test between the Proteas and India in Centurion on Monday could put out the fires Cricket South Africa’s selection convenor was fighting as critics continued to lambast the inclusion of Marco Jansen ahead of Duanne Olivier as adulterating the home attack.

But Victor Mpitsang, the convenor of the selection panel, did confirm The Citizen’s report on the first day of the Test that Olivier had been left out due to his bowling workloads not being sufficient to last a five-day match due to a bout of Covid he suffered at the start of the month.

The 21-year-old Jansen was therefore brought into the team for his debut and struggled, along with the rest of the Proteas attack.

India, having won the toss and elected to bat, amassed 272/3 led by Lokesh Rahul’s unbeaten 122. The left-arm quick’s first day of international cricket could have been very different though if wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had taken a sharp catch off Mayank Agarwal in Jansen’s fifth over.

Jansen ended the first day with 0/61 in 17 overs. Lungi Ngidi, another man whose fitness was in question given how little competitive cricket he has played in the last few months, was the only wicket-taker for South Africa with 3/45 in 17 overs.

ALSO READ: Ngidi makes welcome return on tough day for Proteas

“Duanne Olivier is healthy and well, but did return a positive Covid-19 test result a number of weeks ago, which forced him to quarantine and took time away from his training ahead of the current Test series against India,” Mpitsang was reported as saying on the second day of the Test.

“His workloads were not where the selection panel would have wanted them to be by the time he entered the team bubble ahead of the first Test.

“He also picked up a hamstring niggle during the two-day inter-squad match at the start of the camp, and the selectors did not want to risk him unnecessarily when there are two more Test matches to think about,” Mpitsang said.

“Marco Jansen was the standout performer with the ball against India A in their recent tour to South Africa and the selectors backed him to take on the senior India team and do well.

“Every player who has been selected for this Proteas team is believed to be capable of representing the national team and giving a performance of the highest level. The absence of one player does not take away from the quality that another brings to the set-up.”

Unfortunately for CSA, the fact that the explanation only came out on the second day of the Test has seen the press exercise their autonomy to react negatively to being kept in the dark.

Conspiracy theories also abounded on social media.

The good news is that Olivier is expected to be fully fit for the second Test at the Wanderers starting on January 3.

Glenton Stuurman is reportedly also carrying a leg niggle.