The Shape, The Reputation Of Gibson's Choice Mantra To The World Cup > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Form over reputation is Gibson's selection mantra for World Cup

"First and foremost, you want to pick on form."

Twenty20s might not be the perfect preparation for a 50-over World Cup but it's still something and the selection doors are open for those willing to blitz their way into the 15-member squad to England, South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has said. And when he says T20s, he really doesn't mean IPL, a tournament a whole lot of South Africa's main players will be featuring in.

"I'm not too sure about IPL, but playing international T20s, you still have an opportunity," Gibson said ahead of the first T20I against Sri Lanka at Newlands. "We said as a selection panel that we've always looked at it like the Ryder Cup selection where the captain has a wild card pick. So there's still an opportunity for someone who comes in and does something unbelievable in the next couple of games. There is still a chance for selectors to consider that person."

With the World Cup crawling on the selectors, there's an added pressure to have a blueprint ready for the squad that will travel to England. Gibson has argued that it's necessary to pick someone who is in form over someone who isn't.

"First and foremost, you want to pick on form. If there's no form to go with, then you have to look at reputation I guess. That's something that we'll have to look at. With regards to Hash [Amla], he's not played any cricket for a long time now because of his family situation. So when we sit down to discuss the team, that will surely be one of the things we have to consider.

"The one-day series gave us a good look at some players," Gibson added. "Obviously the result is quite pleasing going into the World Cup for confidence and momentum and that sort of stuff. But also we saw some good players. We saw Nortje come in and do really well. We've seen Rassie now for a while. We would have liked some more performances from other players. The likes of Reeza I'm sure would have liked to have made some more runs."

Anrich Nortje, only four ODIs old, impressed in the series against Sri Lanka, picking eight wickets across four games, and Gibson has assured that he's on the World Cup radar.

"He'll surely be in the conversation at the moment. I thought he did really well in the series. Even yesterday, in the last game of the series, he bowled really well. And he complements the other bowlers we have. One of the things that we've always looked at when we're putting together a bowling unit is guys who can get wickets in the middle overs. Him bowling first change with his pace in those middle overs, he is surely a wicket-taker."

With so much of cricket leading upto the IPL of all things, Gibson said that the plan was to rotate players so that their mainstays remain fresh ahead of their World Cup campaign in England. And then there's always an added advantage of auditioning players for the post-World Cup era, when a host of South African players might walk away from the game.

"The first thing is that some of the guys are going to be given a break," Gibson said. "Lungi [Ngidi] picked up a slight niggle in the last game. I don't think it's too serious, but he's going to be given a break. After this first game, KG [Rabada] is going to be given a break, and Faf [du Plessis] and Quinton [de Kock] as well, who play all formats. And then to continue from where we were with the form we've had.

"We've brought in [Lutho] Sipamla, we've looked at him in the Pakistan series. He looks a really good prospect, so we're going to try and give him some more game time. We've always used the T20s as an opportunity to expose new talent, and that's what we're going to continue to do with Sipamla and [Sinethemba] Qeshile. Hopefully, the guys that are left here, there's still an opportunity for them to get some form."

On the World Cup team make-up, Gibson said that they haven't ruled out playing two spinners in the eleven, given it's a long tournament and the pitches might become more spin conducive in the latter half of the tournament.

"If we pick two spinners in the World Cup, we'll pick two spinners with the prospect of playing them at some point. The tournament is six or seven weeks. You could end up playing on a used pitch somewhere, in a day game, where the two spinners will come into it. That's something we'll definitely look at. We tried to do it in Port Elizabeth, but the game didn't go the distance, and we'll continue to look at different combinations. And two spinners are definitely a part of our thinking at some point."

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