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SA call on uncapped Hamza for Pakistan series
December 07, 2018
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CAPE TOWN: South Africa have named uncapped middle-order batsman Zubayr Hamza and fast bowler Duanne Olivier in their squad for the three-Test home series against Pakistan starting in Pretoria on Boxing Day.

Cape Town-born Hamza, 23, averages almost 50 in first class cricket but has had a modest domestic season to date with two fifties in nine innings and an average of a little over 31.

The right-hander, who bats at number three for his provincial Cape Cobras side, has been rewarded for his excellent form over the last 18 months and his potential as a future regular in the team.

“Zubayr has been one of the standout cricketers in domestic cricket over the past year and carried that form into the South Africa A tour to India where he averaged over 50 in the four-day series against tough opposition and under tough conditions,” Cricket South Africa national selection panel (NSP) convener Linda Zondi said in a media statement on Thursday.

He scored 823 runs, including three centuries, at the impressive average of 69.

“His selection is part of our vision for the future as we start to feed new players into the system. It is inevitable that some of our senior players will start thinking of retiring in years to come and it is vital that we have a good succession plan in place.”

Olivier replaces Ngidi

South Africa have also recalled Olivier as a replacement for the injured Lungi Ngidi, who will miss the entire Pakistan tour that also includes five One-Day Internationals and three T20 fixtures.

Ngidi suffered a significant ligament injury to his right knee after falling awkwardly while fielding in the one-off T20I against Australia recently that has now sidelined him for 12 weeks.

Olivier has five Test caps to his name. The Bloemfontein quick picked 17 wickets in those fixtures .

“As unfortunate as Lungi’s injury is we are blessed to have outstanding depth in our fast bowling resources.”

“Duanne has impressed on his previous appearances for the Proteas and has had a good franchise season to date with 20 wickets in his five matches at an average of 22.80,” CSA National selection panel convener Linda Zondi said. “Before that, he had an outstanding season in the four-day franchise competition where he scored 823 runs, including three centuries, at the impressive average of 69.”

The Proteas have retained experienced batsman Hashim Amla despite a poor run of form that has seen him top-score with 31 in his last nine Test innings and continually fail in domestic cricket, with the selection of Hamza possibly much to do with Amla’s struggles.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn will hope to get the one wicket he needs to pass Shaun Pollock as the country’s highest Test wicket-taker and has been in excellent bowling form in domestic cricket. The second Test will be played in Cape Town from Jan 3-7, with the series finale in Johannesburg from Jan 11-15.


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