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

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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Neil Manthorp
Neil Manthorp works from Cape Town. Talk and write about cricket,golf and most sports. Executive Coach. Cook for the family when at home. Neil Manthorp has over 27405 followers on Twitter.

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