McKenzie’s back in fold
31 Dec 2007
Neil McKenzie has finally won selection in the Proteas test squad.
McKenzie’s belated call-up is a sure sign that Herschelle Gibbs will be spared more international embarrassment against the West Indies. The question is where McKenzie will be batted and logic would suggest it is AB de Villiers who moves up the order to replace Gibbs, while McKenzie slots in at five and Ashwell Prince moves down to six.
Shaun Pollock will also rejoin the squad, but the selectors have indicated they won’t pick him unless one of the four seam bowlers is injured. Mondi Zondeki has also failed to win squad inclusion, despite Makhya Ntini’s indifferent form.
The West Indies, one-nil up in the three-test series, believe they can wrap up the series at Newlands. The Proteas are currently ranked two in the test arena, while the West Indies occupy the eighth position. A series victory would rank as one of the big upsets in recent years, but the reality is that the Proteas are more mid table than top table.
The South African squad continue to be in denial about the defeat with Graeme Smith saying the rain (in the build-up to the test) derailed the Proteas preparations.
However, the biggest thing that derailed the top order was the decision to rest the likes of Gibbs and Smith from any domestic four-day competition, this at a time when Gibbs, in particular, needed time at the crease.