Chris Morris Proteas T20 mystery FINALLY resolved! Or is it … ?

South Africa will go into this year’s T20 World Cup without experienced short-form specialists Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed on Thursday.

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Temba Bavuma will lead a 15-man squad which CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said was “a new group of players, with new heroes to be made.”

The tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates from 23 October to 14 November.

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Smith said talks had been held with 37-year-old Faf du Plessis but said it was not possible to reach agreement with the former captain who is now regarded as a “free agent” as he is no longer contracted to CSA.

“When you are working with free agents you have to come together. You have to find that balance that works for both the team and the free agents,” said Smith.

“With Faf in particular we struggled to find that balance.”

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Although Faf du Plessis retired from Test cricket last year he said he was available for white-ball cricket and stated that he wanted to play in the next two T20 World Cups.

He confirmed to AFP before Thursday’s announcement he remained available.

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Du Plessis underlined his credentials by hitting 120 off 60 balls in a Caribbean Premier League match for St Lucia Kings against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in Basseterre last Saturday.

Morris, 34, signed a record $2.2 million deal with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this year and is regarded as a leading T20 all-rounder.

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Smith said Morris had made himself unavailable to play for South Africa after last representing the country in March 2019.

However, according to reports, Morris claimed somewhat puzzlingly that there was a “massive breakdown in communication” but “harbours no hard feelings at not being selected”.

The fact Morris is year after year among the most sought-after IPL players at auction yet seemingly unwanted by the Proteas at T20 level has for a while now baffled supporters.

Meanwhile, Smith said leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 42, was another free agent whose participation had been discussed. 

“He’s had a great run and he’s still being successful but we’re very confident in the spin bowlers we have available.”

Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Kagiso Rabada are the only players in the squad who played in the 2016 World T20 in India.

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Proteas squad for 2021 ICC T20 World Cup:

Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen

Travelling reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams

Dates, fixtures, venues and times for South Africa’s matches at the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup Super 12:

All times SA

23 October: Australia v South Africa, Abu Dhabi – 12:00

26 October: South Africa v West Indies, Dubai – 12:00

30 October: South Africa v A1, Sharjah – 12:00

2 November: South Africa v B2, Abu Dhabi – 12:00

6 November: England v South Africa, Sharjah – 16:00

In addition:

10 November: Semi-final 1 (A1 v B2), Abu Dhabi – 16:00

11 November: Semi-final 2 (B1 v A2), Dubai – 16:00

14 November: Final, Dubai – 16:00

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