All eyes on Zulu

Neil Manthorp – 9/11/2002

Daryll Cullinan’s inclusion in the South African ‘A’ team to face Sri Lanka in Potchefstroom may attract the majority of the public’s attention on November 23 but there is another man we should all be more concerned about.

A World Cup squad without Lance Klusener is a horrible thought – but so is the prospect of a World Cup squad with an out-of-form or unhappy Lance Klusener in it.

His current woes with the bat are not, unfortunately, a temporary or passing ‘blip’ in his career. He was out of form in Australia ten months ago, he was largely ineffective for Nottinghamshire in the winter, he was out of form in Morocco and he looked desperate in Sri Lanka. That’s a long time to survive on reputation.

Andrew Hall is just one of three or four players now staking a more legitimate claim for World Cup inclusion than Klusener but there is still time for ‘Zulu’ to convince the selectors that he is the right man for the job.

“He needs as much game time as possible,” Omar Henry said after announcing the A team on Tuesday. “We need to see as much of him as possible, that’s why he is in the team. He hasn’t done much recently,” Henry said.

As for Boeta Dippenaar and Nicky Boje, two players who might reasonably have hoped for a call-up, Henry was adamant they shouldn’t be disheartened.

“Of course they are in contention (for a World Cup place), nobody has been discounted. It’s not just a question of looking at different people but also different combinations. We are selecting a team, not just a group of individuals,” Henry said.

The form of veterans like Cullinan and Gary Kirsten will be closely monitored but the truth is that Henry and his team know what they are capable of and they know that they have ‘lost’ nothing except, maybe, a yard of pace in the outfield.

Klusener may just be a different matter. Not only does he need to show form, he needs to show he is still capable of form. Fingers crossed.

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