Proteas boss explains choice of Rickelton, two spinners for Wanderers

Proteus decided to give free rein The Lions drive the Ryan Rickelton car as well as the duo of Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer for the second Test against the West Indies starting at Wanderers on Wednesday morning.

Rickelton has been in top form domestically and will finally get a chance to show what he can do on the international front, while Maharaj and Harmer have the daunting task of trying to extract some twist on the usually fast bowler-friendly pitch.

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A total of four changes were made to the 11-man starting line-up, with Viaan Mulder also being recalled to the test team, and Henrich Nortier is resting after being hit in the first Test, while Keegan Petersen, Marco Jansen and Senuran Mutusami were substituted.

“Rickelton deserves a chance”

Explaining his selection decision, Proteas coach Shukri Konrad explained that he can’t wait to get a full look at his in-game team.

“Rickelton deserves this chance to play as everyone knows he has exhausted it. We went with Keegan in the first test simply because he was the incumbent,” Conrad said.

“He (Petersen) was not counted due to two goalless matches. As you may have noticed, everyone in the squad now has the opportunity to play.

“The field looks good and history shows that spinners really came into play here last year. The game also doesn’t have to end on day three, test matches should go on until day five, and if they do make it to day four and five, I think our spinners will get into that with great success.

“So hopefully we can get enough runs and then on days four and five our spinners can really get into it.”

Disadvantages of batting

Conrad was also asked about the Proteas’ batting shortcomings, which were again in full view at Centurion last week when they fell from 221/1 to 342 overall and managed just 116 in the second innings.

“There is a lot of talk about this variety of cricket because there is a lot of talk about how we want to play our game and that often shows up in the batting department. It’s no secret that we didn’t play very well in Centurion, Konrad admitted.

“Yes, we got off with a good result. But the truth is, we weren’t good. The West Indies (bowlers) were good and the wicket was tight, but that doesn’t mean we should just roll over like we did the other day and did in the past.”

Conrad continued: “This is a unique set of circumstances. We don’t often play Test cricket and this is well documented. So I have to find new ways to learn more about these guys.

“If it plays out by itself, by giving everyone a try and seeing how they react, and hopefully over the course of the year we will create other opportunities.

“But this brand will take a little longer on the batting front. In bowling, our brand was great, we played four quick games and showed what we can do. I think it takes a bit of patience from a batsman’s point of view.”

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