SA, Australia gear up for World T20

South Africa and Australia will switch their attention from Test cricket to the shortest form of the game when they play the first of two Twenty20 internationals at the Wanderers Stadium here on Friday.

For both teams it will be a last chance to assess their combinations before the World Twenty20 in England in June.

South Africa have named 15 players in their squad and selection convenor Mike Procter said every player would all play in at least one match. The second contest is in Centurion on Sunday.

Australia have a squad of 16, which also includes the players for a five-match one-day international series starting on April 3.

Two players, Victoria fast bowler Shane Harwood and New South Wales opening batsman David Warner, were selected only for the Twenty20 games.

Only 10 of the South African players have also been selected for the one-day internationals.

“We have recognised that it is a different form of the game from ODIs, being a very fast game,” said Procter.

“Our record has not been particularly good of late in this format and this is our last chance to identify players before the ICC World T20.”

Australia, meanwhile, decided to rest fast bowlers Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, who played in all three Tests during the recent series.

Both players had injuries during the season and it was felt best to rest them ahead of a demanding schedule which includes the World Twenty20 and an Ashes tour of England.

The absence of Siddle and Hilfenhaus provides opportunities for Brett Geeves and Ben Laughlin to make claims for more regular selection.

Australia won both Twenty20 internationals during South Africa’s recent tour but South Africa have a 6-2 winning record at the Wanderers, including a two-run win against Australia three seasons ago.

No Twenty20 internationals have been played at Centurion.—Sapa-AFP

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