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Proteas Cricket World Cup selection poser

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It is undoubtedly going to be an interesting ride. Be sure to tighten your seatbelts.

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SOUTH African sport is currently enjoying a relatively successful period.

Bafana Bafana has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, while Banyana Banyana are heading to the Fifa World Cup in France.

There is also some fresh optimism in rugby circles, with the South African franchises showing glimpses of the talent available in the country, which bodes well for the World Cup later this year in Japan.

So, that just leaves the cricketers. Faf du Plessis and his team also have a World Cup on their doorstep, with the Proteas playing the opening game on May 30 against hosts England at The Oval. But first, the 14 men that will head into battle alongside Du Plessis need to be announced on Thursday.

It should be a foregone conclusion, with regulars such as Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir and others being automatic selections.

However, even with the hour-glass having almost run its course, there remains contention over a couple of places in the 15-man squad. Will sentiment lean towards Hashim Amla or will national convenor of selectors Linda Zondi place his trust in the youthful Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks?

Equally, will the consistency of Dwaine Pretorius trump Chris Morris’ “X-factor” for the second all-rounder spot?

All will be revealed on Thursday at 6pm.

Every Proteas fan will know that is the easy part, though. Cricket World Cups are emotional roller-coasters, and everyone will be hoping that England 2019 is a far smoother ride than previous tournaments.

Many will certainly not have forgotten the trauma of the semi-final at Eden Park four years ago, when Dale Steyn was left crestfallen after Grant Elliot struck the legendary Proteas fast bowler high into the Auckland night sky.

With it also being the 20th anniversary of the fateful run out between Lance Klusener and Allan Donald, the replays of that fateful day at Edgbaston will also stir up the emotions once again.

It is undoubtedly going to be an interesting ride. Be sure to tighten your seatbelts.