South Africa omit Boucher and Gibbs

This news “broke” a few hours ago, and I still don’t know what to make of it. I was suprised when Boucher wasn’t included in his country’s tour to India, which makes this latest decision not to recall him doubly confusing. This BBC article suggests it’s yet further evidence of African politics infiltrating the selection of their sportsmen. Full squad below

Graeme Smith Captain (Nashua WP/Boland)
Nicky Boje Vice-Captain (Goodyear Eagles)
Hashim Amla (Nashua Dolphins)
Zander de Bruyn (Nashua Titans)
AB de Villiers (Nashua Titans)
Boeta Dippenaar (Goodyear Eagles
Andrew Hall (Highveld Lions)
Jacques Kallis (Nashua WP/Boland)
Makhaya Ntini (Mercedes Warriors)
Shaun Pollock (Nashua Dolphins)
Jacques Rudolph (Nashua Titans)
Dale Steyn (Nashua Titans)
Thami Tsolekile (Nashua WP/Boland)

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the stand-out fielders of the last 10 years (in my opinion) is injured and doesn’t make the squad. Good article on him here

I think England will be quietly pleased. Although, as this columist inferred, Fletcher thrives on fastidious preparation and he can’t prepare for players he’s never seen before. Gibbs is mercurial – he has a touch of pure class and gleams talent & a carefree “see it/hit it” simplicity…but he’s just as fallable in making stupid mistakes (not least in World Cups – sorry!)

I’ve always admired Boucher (who I’ve seen referred to as a “veteran” – he’s only 29! 2 years older than Andrew Strauss who’s a relative newbie to Test Cricket). He has a lot of guts and spirit, and is a damn handy number 7/8/ who can take the game away very quickly. He’s been replaced by [who?] who I, and most people outside SA – indeed probably some in SA! – know nothing of. To me, this looks like one of those bizarre “for the future” decisions which England were so fond of doing in the 90s…if I were South African, I’d be wanting the selectors to pick a team “horses for courses” whilst they’re in this “slump.” (note the inverted commas…I’m not ready to eat my hat!)