Maharaj rewarded with ODI call-up to face Australia
With the retirement of Imran Tahir ODI door opens for first-choice Test spinner
Keshav Maharaj’s match-winning performances for the Dolphins in the Momentum 1-Day Cup have been rewarded with a call-up to the SA one-day international (ODI) cricket squad for the forthcoming series against Australia.
The 30-year-old is SA’s first-choice Test spinner but found the limited-overs door blocked by Imran Tahir.
Tabraiz Shamsi has taken over the limited-overs mantle‚ but Maharaj‚ who captained the Dolphins this season‚ has been a star performer for the Momentum 1-Day Cup log leaders.
Maharaj‚ who has been playing limited-overs cricket since 2006‚ is 25th on the run-scoring charts with 103 runs from three innings at 53.50 with a highest of 50.
He has been picked for bowling as he is the joint top wicket-taker with Cape Cobras youngster Thando Ntini with 13 wickets. Maharaj and the Dolphins have played a game less‚ but they have a handy nine-point lead at the top.
Rassie van der Dussen has been rested for this series as has Faf du Plessis, while Lutho Sipamla and Janneman Malan have earned call-ups.
Temba Bavuma‚ who missed the entire T20 series against Australia with a hamstring strain‚ is also in the ODI squad.
Proteas team director Mark Boucher said the rest and rotation of players is a necessity.
“With the completion of the 2019 Cricket World Cup and the next one being three years from now‚ we always saw the series against England and Australia as an opportunity to play some fresh talent‚” Boucher said.
“If we feel we need to rest players‚ we will‚ as we have done in the recent past. Faf has been fantastic for us in white-ball cricket and remains very much in our ODI plans and we will manage his workload for the near future diligently.
“I would like to strengthen our depth pool right now and see what players we have out there. I feel this is the time and opportunity to do so.”
SA ODI squad: Quinton de Kock (capt‚ wicketkeeper‚ Titans)‚ Temba Bavuma (Lions)‚ David Miller (Dolphins)‚ Kagiso Rabada (Lions)‚ Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins)‚ Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans)‚ Lungi Ngidi (Titans)‚ Beuran Hendricks (Lions)‚ Heinrich Klaasen (Titans)‚ Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras)‚ Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors)‚ Anrich Nortjé (Warriors)‚ Lutho Sipamla (Warriors)‚ Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins)‚ Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras).