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Selection dilemma for the South African team management

Stephen Cook of South Africa
Stephen Cook of South Africa. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Though people might argue that this is a good problem to have but in reality, the South African team management faces a difficult task when they sit down to decide on their starting XI for the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth. AB de Villiers who missed the 2-1 series triumph over Australia in their own backyard due to an elbow injury will undoubtedly return to the playing XI for the match but the inevitable question is who will be left out?

Until the final Test against the Aussies it was almost certain that Stephen Cook would be the one who will face the axe he still might be but his fighting century in the 2nd innings of the Pink Ball Test has surely put the selectors under the dilemma. It was Cook’s 2nd Test century in only his 6th match and dropping him despite his brilliant showing might be unjust for the fighting character.

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It will surely be a difficult task for Linda Zondi & Co. to leave out Cook. If Cook does miss out, the South African think tank has to find a solution for the openers slot. Zondi also did not rule out the possibility of Quinton de Cock being pushed up the order. There are lots of ifs and buts but keeping the current situation in mind even the selector is not aware what is going to happen.

“I’m not sure at the moment,” an honest Zondi told Sport24.

“All of our batters have done well. It’s a matter of us putting our heads together and then coming up with a plan that will benefit South Africa.

“We are in a better position. We have a world class player and we need to see how we can make sure that he is part of the team moving forward. We are not going to shy away from making a decision.”

Zondi also stated that he and his team have a lot to think but it was not entirely an unfamiliar territory.

“We were in a similar position back before we left for Australia,” said Zondi.

“We had a captain who got injured and we had to bring in a stand-in captain who was not in the starting line-up.”

With de Villiers fit and fine he cannot be left out from the XI under any stress of imagination so it leaves batsmen like Cook, Duminy, and Elgar as the ones who might face the axe.

“It is a nice problem to have, but I trust that the panel and everyone involved will come up with a decision that best suits the team and we will make sure it puts us in a better position to win against Sri Lanka,” Zondi said.

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