Mark Boucher defends Kagiso Rabada

SA lost first T20I

The flag of South Africa

Head coach Mark Boucher has implored several South African players to stake significant claims for selection ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

South Africa are currently involved in a three-T20I series against the Australians. The hosts lost the series opener by 107 runs at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.  South Africa and Australia are offered at 2.50 and 1.53, respectively, by bet365 to win Sunday's second T20I at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.

“There are certain places up for grabs and with guys getting opportunities, it's important that they take them now. A month or so before the World Cup we want to have our minds on who we want to take as a 15-man squad but it's difficult for players to make a name for themselves a month before the tournament,” said Boucher.

“Now is the time that players need to put their hands up and stake a claim for positions and there are still position up for grabs. We don't quite know what our combinations are going to be and we are waiting for guys to step up.”

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who was rested for the recent ODI and T20I series against England, returned to the XI in Johannesburg. However, he proved ineffective – and might be replaced by fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje in Port Elizabeth. St George's Park is Nortje's home ground.

Boucher on Rabada

“Kagiso has come back from a long rest so it's no use making an emotional decision and saying we are going to leave him out for the next game,” added Boucher.

“We need guys like him and Anrich Nortje to come back but we also needed to rest them and that was the right decision because we want them fresh.

“It's not the end of the world – losing one game of T20 cricket.. Yes, we are going to have to shape up quite a bit in the next week but there is also a plan going through to the next World Cup.

“We are working really hard off the field. We understand the areas we need to work on. We've got to get back on the horse. If we rock up and play 40% cricket we are going to get beaten and beaten badly, like we were here.”

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Jonhenry dedicates his global gaming knowledge to the iGaming industry. He produces content about cricket, in addition to playing and training.