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Du Plessis rested for England one-day series

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CAPE TOWN: South Africa have left out former captain Faf du Plessis from their squad for the One-day International series against England, which starts at Newlands on Friday.

The 36-year-old, who retired from Test cricket earlier this year, is being rested for the three-match series after competing in the Twenty20 games against England, which the visitors swept 3-0, and in the Indian Premier League for the Chennai Super Kings.

He joins injured fast bowler Kagiso Rabada on the sidelines. Rabada suffered an adductor injury earlier this week and will only return later this month for the Test series against Sri Lanka.

World Cup champions England start as strong favourites against a South Africa side struggling on and off the pitch

In their most recent One-day International series, South Africa beat Australia 3-0. But that was a long time ago, as head coach Mark Boucher pointed out in the aftermath of South Africa’s trouncing in the Twenty20 series.

The series agaist Australia was back in March and much has changed since then, not least a lengthy, coronavirus-induced break for the South African team and upheaval in the boardroom and offices of Cricket South Africa.

The challenges facing Boucher and the national selectors are both medical and political.

It has been reported locally that the racial transformation targets for the national team are to be increased so that by 2023 no more than four white players may be picked in an eleven.

“Someone above me needs to answer that,” said Boucher when asked about the targets.

The South African teams that played in the T20 series lacked balance in the form of all-rounders, with Andile Phehlukwayo unavailable and Dwaine Pretorius injured in training.

Also unavailable was the powerful left-handed batsman, David Miller, which Boucher said affected the effectiveness of the top-order batting.

CSA have refused to name the two players who tested positive for Covid-19 before the series but both Phehlukwayo and Miller will be available for the one-day games.

Both teams will be much-changed for the one-day series.

Star England players Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran are being rested, while the T20 man-of-the-series Dawid Malan, and all-rounder Chris Jordan were not selected for the one-day games.

South Africa will surely welcome back Miller and Phehlukwayo along with several or all of Janneman Malan, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kyle Verreynne and Keshav Maharaj, who played in the winning series against Australia.

England’s batting will be bolstered by Test captain Joe Root, while there will be a new-look bowling attack in which all-rounder Chris Woakes and fast bowlers Mark Wood and Olly Stone could feature.

The remaining games will be staged on Sunday and Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020

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