| ANDREW HALL: May replace Donald
Bloemfontein: World Cup hosts South Africa and their veteran fast bowler Allan Donald launch their battle of survival when they meet Bangladesh here on Saturday.
Shaun Pollock’s men, given a lifeline after the West Indies-Bangladesh match was rained off, cannot afford to slip any further after losing two of their three games so far.
“The side we pick for tomorrow might surprise the public and the media,” said South Africa’s chief selector Omar Henry. “What has made the situation more difficult is that a key player like Allan Donald is out of form. Bloemfontein is Allan’s home town and this may well be his last game for South Africa here but we must do what is best for the team.”
Henry’s comments means allrounder Andrew Hall was expected to replace Donald.
“When you hear comments from former players it is frustrating,” Donald, playing his fourth and last World Cup, said after nets. “If I get the opportunity to play on my home ground it will be great but that’s totally up to the selectors and the team management.”
Pollock conceded that the team had been despondent and all but expecting a first-round exit after losing two of their first three games.
But the mood changed when rain forced the West Indies to drop valuable points.
“In a funny way it’s prepared us as best as possible,” he said. “We faced the exit door, we’ve been there and we know what the feeling’s like. So looking forward...there’s basically nothing to fear. The dream is still alive.”
South Africa had been dependent on other results going their way to reach the Super Sixes after their defeats to West Indies and New Zealand.
But when the West Indies’ game against Bangladesh was washed out on Tuesday, depriving Carl Hooper’s side of two points, South Africa knew they were virtually assured of progressing if they won their final three pool games.
“The despondency in the squad was because our future in the tournament was out of our hands — we had to rely on someone else,” Pollock said. “Now that it’s back in our hands the guys are far more upbeat about things. There is the dream of going all the way but our focus is on getting into the Super Sixes and then taking it from there.”
Bangladesh and Canada should be easily taken care of, but South Africa have to defeat Sri Lanka in Durban on March 3 to stay in contention for the Super Sixes.
South Africa (from): Shaun Pollock (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith, Gary Kirsten, Boeta Dippenaar, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Hall, Mark Boucher, Nicky Boje, Allan Donald, Monde Zondeki, Robin Peterson, Lance Klusener, Charl Langeveldt, Makhaya Ntini.
Bangladesh (from): Khaled Mashud (captain), Al Sahariar, Alok Kapali, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarker, Ehsanul Haque, Sanwar Hossain, Khaled Mahmud, Manjurul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Talha Jubair, Tapash Baisya, Tushar Imran.
Umpires: Srinivas Venkatraghavan (India), Brent Bowden (NZ). Third umpire: Tyron Wijewardene (Lanka). Match Referee: Clive Lioyd (WI).