Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

A sign of depth, says Proteas coach, as local stars miss out on India tour

The likes of Dewald Brevis and Ryan Rickelton haven't found a spot in any of the three SA squads.

While a variety of changes have been made to the national cricket squads, for a range of reasons, South Africa’s depth in all three formats has resulted in some big players missing out.

Some experienced individuals are being rested for most of the Proteas’ limited overs campaign against India starting this weekend, in order to focus on the two Tests which conclude the home tour. Others are also injured or unavailable, creating opportunities for a handful of uncapped prospects.

There are a few surprises, however, with eyebrows being raised by the absence of some players.

Klaasen dropped

Top-order batter Heinrich Klaasen has been omitted from the Test squad (though he remains in the white-ball units) while Dewald Brevis and Ryan Rickelton haven’t found a spot in any of the three squads.

Klaasen has played 92 ODI and T20 International matches, but he has contested only four Tests in his career. And though he has shown superb form this year in shorter formats, he failed to retain his place in the five-day squad after turning out against West Indies earlier this year.

“I sit down with quite a few people I trust in the system and I come up with a squad I believe can beat India at home,” said Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad.

“I know it’s not the end of the road for Heinrich Klaasen. Next year we go to Bangladesh and the West Indies, and I’m almost certain you’ll see the return of Heinrich there in some capacity.

“But when we sat down and looked at how we can potentially beat India in the conditions that we’re going to be encountering, these are the players (in the Test squad) I believe can perform and give us the best chance of winning.”

Strength and depth

The likes of Brevis and Rickelton will need to continue plugging away at domestic level, with other rising stars securing spots ahead of them based on form and expected conditions.

However, Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter felt their absence indicated there was tremendous strength and depth among the pool of players knocking on the door for selection.

“I think the better the player that’s getting left out, the better our system,” Walter said.

“Unfortunately there’s not enough space for all the young batters to play all the time, and we’re trying to continually create opportunities for these guys to play.”

The Proteas T20 squad will convene tomorrow ahead of their first match against India in Durban on Sunday. The tour will feature three T20 Internationals, three ODI matches and two Tests.

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