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Cricket | SA Team

Continuity and flair key - Kirsten

Proteas coach Gary Kirsten said continuity and flair were key considerations when the selectors decided on the 15-man ODI squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales, starting on June 6.

"We decided to opt for continuity which meant we could go with established players," said Kirsten at Thursday's squad announcement in Cape Town.

"The experience helps the players to cope with the demands of the game while flair is especially important in a knockout event.

"That's why we're going with eight batsmen so that we have something different to offer.

Kirsten said although the batting was loaded, he was mindful the team needed to perform well in all departments.

Jacques Kallis ruled himself out for personal reasons and Kirsten admitted his absence was a blow for the team.

"It does affect our combinations because Kallis is two players in one, but if he feels he is not ready for the tournament then we have to respect that.

"It is big blow but this team has progressed to a level that we are comfortable with, whoever plays."

The selectors felt JP Duminy would be fully fit by the time the tournament gets underway, after he suffered an Achilles injury in Australia last November.

“We are all excited by where he is (in terms of his rehab)," said Kirsten.

"He is a key component of the team and, although we are not putting too much pressure on him to play, he has progressed fairly well.”

Kirsten said that there were a few players who are not playing in the IPL or elsewhere but he was not concerned about their state of match readiness.

The squad would attend a camp in The Netherlands before on their way to England, departing on May 25.

They play their opening game of the tournament against India at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, on June 6.

"We have to cross the (winner's) line," said Kirsten, who was cognisant of the team's lack of championship success.

"It's something we are aware of and the less you people (the media) talk about it, the less pressure there will be on us to win a trophy."


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