ICL: Indian Cricket League

Fleming doubtful as NZ battle with injuries


flemingDale Steyn propelled South Africa to a big win over a New Zealand team in disarray in the first Test at the Wanderers and, as the teams rejoin battle in Centurion, South Africa have the upper hand. If there was confusion in the New Zealand camp South Africa wore a settled look, and named an unchanged team well in advance of the second Test.

While this means Boeta Dippenaar and Neil McKenzie, who were in contention for spots, have to wait a while longer, it also underscores the statements from the South Africa camp that Shaun Pollock was very much a part of their plans.

The selectors have stressed the need for continuity. “We want continuity and, with the squad winning Test matches there is no reason to start making changes,” Joubert Strydom, the convenor of selectors, said after the end of the first Test. He also dismissed claims that Graeme Smith, the captain of the South African team, was under any pressure after twin failures in the first Test. “Statistics show that Graeme is still a highly effective performer, and we are not in the least bit worried about him.”

New Zealand meanwhile were forced to send SOS calls for Kyle Mills and Jamie How to cover for an assortment of injuries. Jacob Oram is suffering from a hamstring strain while Michael Papps is struggling with a gastric illness.

The spotlight was briefly on Matthew Sinclair, who recently rattled off 243 for Central Districts in a State Shield match against Otago. But New Zealand’s selectors, who have been reluctant to depend on Sinclair, chose to go with How instead.

Mills and How arrived in South Africa on November 12 but the New Zealand camp was reluctant to thrust them straight into action so soon after arrival. “Ideally we would not want to use them because they arrive today,” Lindsay Crocker, manager of the New Zealand team, said on Monday. “But they are here as cover for the Test squad so they will be eligible for selection.”

Mills appears likely to play as the pitch is expected to aid the faster bowlers. Shane Bond, who once again succumbed to injury - this time torn stomach muscles - has flown back home. To compound their problems New Zealand are sweating on Stephen Fleming, who is recovering from injuries to his thumb and arm, and was still a doubtful starter.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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