Cricket: The time for experimentation is over as SA faces Pakistan

South African selectors aim at winning the five-match series against Pakistan with a view to winning the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy in England in June.

South African selectors aim at winning the five-match series against Pakistan with a view to winning the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy in England in June.

A "new-look" South African one-day international team lost 2-1 to lowly ranked New Zealand earlier this year and narrowly avoided a humiliating and unprecedented whitewash with a last-ball victory in the final game. It was an unusual-looking XI with plenty of experimentation and rotation taking place.

"Rotation can be unsettling, no doubt," admitted national selection convenor Andrew Hudson, "but we had a good opportunity to see the pipeline of fringe players coming through the system and there's no doubt we have plenty of work to do."

A consummate 95-run thrashing by Pakistan in the second T20 last Sunday was a chastening experience and a reminder that Proteas supporters will not be sustained by the glories of the Test team alone.

"The time for experimentation is now over. My discussions with [coach] Gary [Kirsten] have all pointed towards winning the five-match series against Pakistan with a view to winning the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy in England in June," said Hudson.

"We are under no illusions; the one-day team is some way adrift of the Test team.
All our best combinations will be used against Pakistan. We will try to play our first-choice batting line-up too.

"We are playing to win, nothing else, against Pakistan," Hudson said.

Likely team for first ODI in Bloemfontein on March 10: Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, AB de Villiers (captain), Faf du Plessis, Farhaan Behardien or David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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