Cape Town: All-rounder Jacques Kallis was a surprise omission when South Africa’s 15-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June was announced in Cape Town on Thursday.
Batsman JP Duminy returned to the squad after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, which has prevented him from playing any cricket since last November. It had been widely expected that Kallis, who turns 38 in October, would return to One Day International action after he was rested from games against New Zealand and Pakistan in the recent home season, ostensibly as part of a plan to manage his workload.
Kallis is currently playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Selection convener Andrew Hudson said Kallis had been unavailable for personal reasons. “It was at Jacques’ request and we are respectful of that.”
Asked how this would affect Kallis’ future career for South Africa, Hudson said: “It’s a little too early to speculate. I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll learn more.”
Kallis has played in 321 One Day Internationals since making his debut in 1995/96.
Coach Gary Kirsten admitted that the absence of Kallis was a blow. “He’s a big player but this team has progressed to a level where we feel comfortable with whoever we pick.
“Obviously he is two players in one so it does affect our combinations but that’s the way it is. He’s been a great player and ambassador for this country. If he feels personally he is not up for the tournament we have to respect that.”
The squad includes eight front-line batsmen, five seam bowlers and two spinners, with three of the batsmen able to provide an additional bowling option.
“We’ve looked for continuity and I feel there’s good experience in the team,” said Kirsten.
“We’ve looked to try to have a bit of flair in the team as we feel that is important in a knockout event. That’s why we have gone for eight batsmen so that we have combinations and options in our batting department that we can try something different in a game.”
Kirsten said the squad would have a camp of four to five days in the Netherlands, which includes a One Day International against the Netherlands in Amstelveen on May 31, ahead of their first Champions Trophy match against India in Cardiff on June 6.
South Africa’s one-day record in the past year is mediocre. They drew 2-2 with England last year, before losing 2-1 against New Zealand and beating Pakistan 3-2.