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Cricket | SA Team

Kirsten mum on back-up keeper



One of the biggest talking points in South African cricket when Mark Boucher suffered a career-ending eye injury at the start of the England tour in 2012, was 'who would take over the gloves permanently'? AB de Villers filled the role adequately during the tour and has since taken the role on permanently.

When head coach Gary Kirsten and national convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson announced the 15-man squad at Sahara Park Newlands on Thursday that would represent South Africa at the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June, it was interesting to note that there was no back-up wicketkeeper in the squad.

"We've discussed it and I think we, at this stage, will make contingency plans. I know we could fly someone out, it's not a difficult venue to get to. There are a couple of days between games so we do have some time if we run into a problem," stated Hudson.

"If something happens on the morning of the game, then it would be a problem," added Hudson, a former opening batsman for the Proteas.

The wicketkeeping berth has been a contentious one, with the young and relatively inexperienced Quinton de Kock leap-frogging his more experienced bizhub Highveld Lions' teammate, Thami Tsolekile, into the national setup.

"Quinton de Kock is second in line with regards to the wicketkeeping position and has played in the ODIs against Pakistan," said Hudson.

When pushed on the issue of having cover for De Villiers, Kirsten was quick to move away from the issue by saying, "we have made contingency plans, but we are not going to make that public! We have that base covered."

De Kock is currently plying his trade with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and would certainly be just a phone call away, should anything happen to De Villiers.

The Proteas open their Champions Trophy campaign against India in Cardiff on 6 June, followed by Pakistan in Birmingham on 10 June and then completing the group stage by facing the West Indies back in Cardiff on 14 June.

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