South African spinner Bjorn Fortuin
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CSA convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang explained the reasoning why Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin were chosen over George Linde for the T20 World Cup.The Proteas named their 18-man T20 World Cup squad with Linde named as one of the reserves.Maharaj, who has yet to play a T20I, was selected due to his “exemplary captaincy” and being SA’s number one Test spinner.Proteas convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang explained the reasoning behind Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin’s mysterious inclusion in South Africa’s T20 World Cup squad.
Maharaj and Fortuin were selected in SA’s World Cup squad ahead of in-form all-rounder George Linde, who is one of the three reserves.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) decided to send a young side to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the global tournament scheduled from 17 October to 14 November.
Maharaj’s selection was surprising as the left-arm spinner has yet to play a T20I.
“Kesh is our number one Test spinner, he has bowled well in those conditions and that’s why he is there,” said Mpitsang.
Mpitsang added that Maharaj provides the team with an extra string with his leadership credentials.
“Kesh is an excellent leader. He has the backing of the team and us as a panel. He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka, which ended on Tuesday,” said Mpitsang.
“His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup.”
Maharaj will make his T20I debut on Friday (16:30 SA time) as he captain’s the Proteas in the first of three T20s against Sri Lanka.
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The Proteas opted to ‘leave’ Linde out of the 15-man squad despite the spinning all-rounder recently establishing himself in the side.
Linde, who has played 14 T20s to date, had a stellar season following the side’s T20 series wins against West Indies and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Fortuin has played 10 T20s for the Proteas thus far, which included three for 16 against Ireland in July.
Mpitsang said that the reasoning behind choosing Fortuin ahead of Linde was mainly because of Fortuin’s spinning capabilities.
“When it comes to George, he is one of the all-rounders. He has done well with the ball, but we’ve gone with the seaming all-rounders,” said Mpitsang.
“We do question is it between him or Bjorn Fortuin. When we go with the left-arm spinner, we went with Bjorn. George has had the upper hand because he is an all-rounder.
“One thing about selection is role clarity, in the bowling side of things, George has done really well, but he is one of the all-rounders. Bjorn is a spinner up front and that’s where the selection comes. Although George is one of the reserves, we went with the spinning options.”
Another notable exclusion was opener batsman Janneman Malan, who performed well in the Proteas’ ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Mpitsang reiterated that the reasoning behind the squad was firmly based on the conditions in the UAE and Oman.
“The criteria wasn’t simple, we needed to take in consideration that the IPL will be played there in the sub-continent. We needed to look at how we’d play in those conditions and we needed to make sure we had resources.”
Proteas 2021 T20 World Cup squad:
Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper, Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Dolphins), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions)
Travelling reserves: Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), George Linde (Western Province), Lizaad Williams (Titans)