Johannesburg: South Africa left out tall fast bowler Morne Morkel Thursday when they announced a 15-man squad for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy to be played in South Africa.
Morkel, regarded as a match-winner when he burst on the national scene in 2006/07, paid the price for inconsistent performances last season.
While Morkel missed out, left-arm fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe returned to the national team for the first time since undergoing a cartilage operation on his right knee in March. Tsotsobe took four for 50 in his only one-day international against Australia in Perth in January.
Tsotsobe, 25, joined Wayne Parnell, 20, as one of two promising left-arm pace bowlers in the squad. Parnell was one of the outstanding performers in the World Twenty20 in England in June.
Left-arm spin bowler Robin Peterson also gained a recall.
“There were some difficult choices to make,” said selection convener Mike Procter.
“At the moment South African cricket is blessed with an abundance of fast bowling talent with the emergence of Tsotsobe and Parnell as outstanding new prospects and Charl Langeveldt becoming available again.
“Langeveldt is not fit enough yet to be considered after his shoulder surgery and Morne Morkel is the unlucky one to miss out. He is very much part of our long-term planning and has a major role to play but we would like to see more consistency from him at this stage,” said Procter.
Procter said one of the strengths of the team was that there were numerous options, with four spin bowlers, two all-rounders in Jacques Kallis and Albie Morkel as well as a strong pace attack.
“There is also batting potential most of the way down the order.”
The Champions Trophy will be played at two venues, Centurion and Johannesburg, from September 22 to October 5.
South African squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Johan Botha (vice-capt), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe.