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South Africa drop McKenzie, Morkel

South Africa drop McKenzie, Morkel

Proteas batsman Neil McKenzie and fast bowler Morne Morkel have both been dropped for the third Test.

Durban: South Africa's opening batsman Neil McKenzie and off-form fast bowler Morne Morkel have both been dropped for the third and final test against Australia in Cape Town, but Ashwell Prince returns to captain the side in place of the injured Graeme Smith.

Left-handed opener Imraan Khan and seamer Wayne Parnell will both get caps for the first time in the third test at Newlands, Cape Town beginning March 19.

Australia lead the test series 2-0.

Prince, who was vice-captain until he was forced out of the team with a broken thumb in Australia in December, will now lead the team after Smith himself was ruled out with a broken finger.

"Ashwell will take over the captaincy from Graeme and will also fill his position of opening batsman," said selection convener Mike Procter. "We felt that it was best just to make one change than to change the top order which would have involved moving several players around."

Khan will open the innings with Prince.

"Imraan Khan fully deserves his chance," said Procter. "He scored his third century of the season in the SuperSport Series at the weekend — the only player to do so — and is the only batsman to have scored more than 600 runs, with an average just above the 60 mark."

Procter added: "We are following the same route with Wayne Parnell as we did with Lonwabo Tsotsobe. They have both benefited enormously from being part of the national squad. We feel that the best thing for Morne Morkel at the moment is to go back to the Titans and play a few rounds of domestic cricket. He remains very much part of our plans going forward."

Parnell led the SA under-19 team, at the World Cup in Malaysia last year.

The selectors have included new caps Yusuf Abdulla, the Dolphins' swing bowler, and Roelof van der Merwe, the Titans' spinning all-rounder, in a 15-man squad for the two Pro20 internationals against Australia. "We have rewarded players who have done well in the domestic Pro20 competition," Procter said. "They will all get a game in one of the matches at least."

"Our record has not been particularly good of late in this format and this is our last chance to identify players before the ICC World T20. It is not just a question of seeing how they do in matches but also to give the management team the chance to assess all aspects of their respective games."

Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini are being rested for the Pro20 matches.

South Africa test squad: Ashwell Prince (captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, A.B. de Villiers, J.P. Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Imraan Khan, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn.

South Africa Pro20 squad: Johan Botha (captain), Yusuf Abdulla, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, A.B. de Villiers, J.P. Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Johann Louw, Albie Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

first published:March 11, 2009, 06:51 IST