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Farhaan Behardien likely to replace Faf du Plessis for NZ ODIs

928   //    19 Aug 2015, 11:22 IST
Faf du Plessis hasn’t recovered from his knee injury

It seems the dark cloud on Faf du Plessis isn’t lifting anytime soon. His knee injury hasn’t left him. He has already had to miss South Africa’s T20 series against England due to the injury, and now it seems that he might have to miss the upcoming series, starting on Wednesday. As a result, Farhaan Behardien might be included in the squad.

But du Plessis has been a No. 3 batsman, and Behardien has established himself in the middle order. The consequence will be promotions for Rilee Rossouw and David Miller. JP Duminy’s being on paternity leave will give these three batsmen a chance to create a firmer place for themselves in the team.

"Faf seems to be struggling at the moment. We are considering bringing an extra batsman into the group but that batsman will be a stand-in in case someone else gets injured because Farhaan was the stand-in," Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, said, according to ESPN Cricinfo. "That means Farhaan will play now if Faf isn't fit and we'll probably be reshuffling our batting order."

"Not having JP and Faf available helps us with the depth in our one-day batting unit and gives a chance to guys like Farhaan, Rilee and Miller to try and fight for a position," Domingo said. "But not having Faf hampers the stability of our batting line-up. Hashim (Amla) does that stabilising job and then we've got a host of guys who really look to score quickly. So finding the right balance between attack and defence is going to be important for us in the one-day format."

Behardien was stand-out batsman for us in T20 games: Dominigo

Du Plessis is often criticised for not scoring fast enough. But even his critics would not be able to wave away the fact that his absence made a significant difference in the second T20 – his trademark calmness was missing in the game. The batsmen collapsed like dominos on an unfamiliar surface, no one facing more than 27 balls each.

"I was particularly disappointed in the chase. I thought we were a little bit frenetic and there were probably too many shots played," Domingo said.

Behardien was the only batsman to score more than 30.

"Farhaan batted really well - he has worked hard on his game. He takes a lot of flak in the public and in the media but he has got a hell of a one-day and T20 record at franchise level and it was good to see him transfer some of that potential and skill onto the international stage," Domingo said. "He was the stand-out batter for us. He showed really good composure and played some good cricket shots."

Though Behardien’s statistics are not prima facie impressive, but his domestic record is reasonably good. His List A average is 36.77 with a strike-rate of 93.79. He has a comprehensive experience of over a decade, and has also led his franchise.

With some inexperienced middle-order players, Domingo noted that "they (New Zealand) seem to be reliant on two batsmen at the top of the order - Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill," and that if South Africa can get through them, a lot of their job is done. "Every time we've got them out there seems to have been a little bit of a wobble with their middle order," Domingo said.

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