Graeme Smith suggests Proteas drop Lungi Ngidi and recall Tabraiz Shamsi

Tabraiz Shamsi cricketTabraiz Shamsi

Former captain Graeme Smith has suggested the Proteas return spinner Tabraiz Shamsi to the XI for Thursday’s Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Shamsi has played three of South Africa’s nine matches this tournament – and taken seven wickets. He was not selected for the Proteas’ most recent fixture against Afghanistan. All-rounder Marco Jansen was also not selected for the match with Afghanistan.

“Against Australia, in these conditions, we can definitely play two spinners. On a surface like this, Shamsi comes back into the equation,” Smith told IOL.

“I would also talk to him about strategy. I would want him to look for wickets to open up the game. You have to take conditions into consideration.

“We’ve seen during the tournament that Eden Gardens has taken more spin than the other venues. Getting your selection right therefore comes into question.

Lungi Ngidi looks a bit short at this moment – it seems like the length of the tournament has caught up with him.

“Marco comes back for me – Kagiso Rabada, Gerald Coetzee and the two spinners. That would be my bowling attack, which would also gives us a bit of batting depth and is our most attacking bowling line-up.”

South Africa and Australia have contested 11 ODIs against each other since November 2018. The Proteas have won nine and Australia two.

“All the top players are in form. I think they also know that they have beaten Australia consistently as well. We have the players to do that,” added Smith.

“The nice part for the Proteas now is that, while a semi-final is a big barrier for us to overcome, we have consistently beaten Australia on big stages now.”

Thursday’s winner will meet India in Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final in Ahmedabad.