Prince bitter over being dropped from Proteas Test side

February 12th, 2009 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 12 (IANS) South Africa’s vice-captain Ashwell Prince is disappointed after being left out of the Test side for the return series against Australia starting in Johannesburg Feb 26.
Middle-order batsman Prince made a strong case for selection with 900 Test runs at an average of 64.28 in 2008. However, Prince missed South Africa’s historic 2-1 triumph in Australia because of a broken thumb.

Regular 12th man J.P. Duminy grabbed his chance at No.6, making his debut in the first Test in Perth in December and scoring 246 at 61.50 in the series.

The Proteas have named a 12-man squad including Duminy for the first two Tests of the three-match series as cricket’s top two teams battle for world supremacy.

South Africa’s chairman of selectors Mike Procter said the Proteas were fortunate to have “seven world-class batsmen competing for six positions”.

“Ashwell is understandably bitterly disappointed but he appreciates that he has not had the opportunity to play much cricket since his injury,” Procter was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph.

Skipper Graeme Smith, who batted in last month’s Sydney Test despite an elbow injury and a fractured hand, will lead the side after recovering from his injuries.

Smith skipped the one-day series in Australia to have blood injections into his elbow wound and to allow time for his hand to heal following a savage blow from paceman Mitchell Johnson.

The aggressive left-hander topped South Africa’s averages with 326 runs at 65.20 in the Test series in Australia. Smith’s fellow opener Neil McKenzie, who averaged 24.20, has been retained despite a push to get Prince back into a reshuffled lineup.

“Ashwell is seriously unlucky,” Procter said. “He scored over 160 in his last Test when we were in trouble (against Bangladesh) and he also did fantastic work in England.”

“We did discuss that (recalling Prince for Neil McKenzie) but we decided that it would be very harsh to call someone else into service to open the batting. We did not want to disrupt the batting order from three down because they have put in a hell of a good showing.”

“We know Neil did not have a good tour of Australia, but he himself was thrown into the deep end last year to open the batting and he was one of the batsmen to score over a thousand runs in 2008,” Procter added.

The second Test starts in Durban March 6 and the third Test in Cape Town March 19.

South Africa squad for first two Tests: Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, A.B. de Villiers, J.P. Duminy, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Lonwabo Tsotsobe (likely 12th man).

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