Johannesburg/Brisbane, Feb.12 (ANI): South African vice-captain Ashwell Prince has expressed his bitter disappointment over being left out of the side for the first two Tests against Australia, while Oz skipper Ricky Ponting has expressed surprise over his omission.
Middle-order batsman Prince made a strong case for selection with 900 Test runs at 64.28 in 2008, but missed South Africa's historic 2-1 triumph in Australia because of a broken thumb.
Regular 12th man J P Duminy grabbed his chance at No.6, making his debut in the first Test in Perth in December and scoring 246 at 61.50 in the series.
The Proteas have named a 12-man squad including Duminy for the first two Tests of the three-match series as cricket's top two teams battle for world supremacy.
South Africa's chairman of selectors Mike Procter said the Proteas were fortunate to have "seven world-class batsmen competing for six positions".
"Ashwell is understandably bitterly disappointed but he appreciates that he has not had the opportunity to play much cricket since his injury," Procter said in a team statement.
Skipper Graeme Smith, who batted in last month's Sydney Test despite an elbow injury and a fractured hand, will lead the side after recovering from his injuries.
RICKY Ponting is surprised South Africa have left out vice-captain Ashwell Prince for their three-Test series against Australia, which starts on February 26 in Johannesburg.
Middle-order batsman Prince had an outstanding 2008, scoring 900 Test runs at 64.28.
He missed South Africa's historic 2-1 series triumph in Australia because of a broken thumb, however, and is now "bitterly disappointed" at being cast aside.
Regular 12th man JP Duminy grabbed his chance at No.6 in Prince's place, making his debut in the first Test in Perth in December and scoring 246 runs at 61.50 in the series.
The Proteas have named a 12-man squad including Duminy for the Johannesburg and Durban (March 6-10) Tests as cricket's top two teams battle for world supremacy.
"That's a bit surprising," Ponting said in Brisbane ahead of Friday's fifth one-day game against New Zealand.
"We all know how well Duminy did in Australia in Tests and one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket. He played beautifully over here. I think Prince was vice-captain when he went out. That does surprise me a little bit but that is a decision that they have made. I think they are obviously very happy with what Duminy has done," Fox Sports quoted Ponting, as saying.
Ponting's 14-man Australian squad departs on Monday.
Graeme Smith, who batted in last month's Sydney Test despite an elbow injury and a fractured hand, will lead the side.
Smith skipped the one-day series in Australia to have blood injections in his elbow and to allow time for his hand to heal following a savage blow from Mitchell Johnson.
The courageous left-hander topped South Africa's averages with 326 runs at 65.20 in Australia.
Smith's fellow opener Neil McKenzie, who averaged 24.20, has been retained despite a push to get Prince back into a reshuffled line-up.
"Ashwell is seriously unlucky," Procter said.
"We did discuss that (recalling Prince for McKenzie) but we decided that it would be very harsh to call someone else into service to open the batting. We did not want to disrupt the batting order from three down because they have put in a hell of a good showing. We know Neil did not have a good tour of Australia, but he himself was thrown into the deep end last year to open the batting and he was one of the batsmen to score over a thousand runs in 2008," Procter added. (ANI)