Two players added to South African Test Squad for remainder of Series Against Australia
Both Duanne Olivier and Chris Morris will get a chance to show their worth to South African selectors, after they were added to the Test Squad halfway through the series against Australia.
Why were they added?
The series has been a fiery one so far. Kagiso Rabada was suspended following the contact he made with Australian captain Steve Smith, and unless he successfully appeals the ban, he will miss the rest of the series. This is no doubt a major blow for the South Africans given Rabada claimed 11 wickets in the second test, but the addition of Olivier and Morris is hoped to strengthen the depth of their squad.
Olivier is a like-for-like replacement. The 25-year-old fast bowler hasn’t featured a whole lot on the International Stage, having logged just five Test’s so far in his career. He impressed in these matches, all of which took place in 2017, grabbing wicket in all but two of the ten Test innings he has bowled in. In 101 overs, he grabbed 17 wickets at the impressive average of 23.11.
Morris is a bowling all-rounder with a little more experience in International cricket, though this is predominantly in the shorter forms of the game. He has played just ten tests in his career, and though he has shown some moments, he hasn’t played to the level he would like to in these games. Aside from a 69 in his debut innings against England, Morris has failed to score a half century in his other six innings. From a bowling perspective he has been consistent, snaring a wicket in all of his eight innings, with his best figures coming in July last year against England when he grabbed 3/38.
Will they play?
This remains to be seen, but there is every chance their involvement in the series will go only as far as being added to the squad. South Africa’s fast bowling depth is unparalleled in world cricket, and after the retiring Morne Morkel sat out the second test, he will no doubt be the man to replace Kagiso Rabada. Dale Steyn is also attempting to prove his fitness as he recovers from a heel injury.
Keshav Maharaj, South Africa’s sole spinner, is also likely to retain his place despite a relatively poor showing in Port Elizabeth. In the Test he grabbed just 2 wickets for 141 runs, but he will feel confident about his place in the side after snaring 9 wickets in the first Test.
South Africa have shown a willingness in the past to play four frontline pace bowlers, easy to do when you have as much quality as they have. In this case, Morris and particularly Olivier would be much greater chances to get a guernsey in one of the upcoming matches, rather than having to beat out a player like Morkel for selection. So far this series, however, South Africa have been content with a three pacemen, one spin attack, and barring a pitch which demands a change, they will likely stick with this formula. This means that despite their addition to the squad, which is no doubt a sign they are close to selection, Olivier and Morris may continue to watch this series from the sidelines.