With the injured Dale Steyn back in South Africa already, the Proteas will have to make at least one enforced change from the victorious WACA line-up for Saturday’s second Test at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
Pietersen, though, has come out in full support of his former Dolphins teammate, Kyle Abbott, to fill the void instead of the 71-capped Test veteran Morkel. He believes the expected conditions would be better suited to Abbott’s style of bowling.
"I know I talked about Morne Morkel missing out – and he shouldn't have – in Perth, but that was (an opinion based on) conditions. I think in Hobart, (with the ball) swinging and seaming, you need an areas kind of bowler," Pietersen, who will play for the Dolphins in the T20 Challenge again this season, told cricket.com.au.
"I think Kyle Abbott's your bowler – he pitches it up, gets it to swing a bit, bowls good areas. He'll complement that bowling attack really, really nicely, so fingers crossed the selectors go with Abbott."
The likelihood of South Africa playing an all-seam attack to accommodate Morkel has diminished, too, after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj produced a spirited display on his Test debut at the WACA. The 26-year-old Dolphins star not only claimed match analysis of 4/150, but also provided valuable lower runs with contributions of 16 and 41 not out.
The statistics at the Bellerive Oval indicate that spinners have more five-wicket hauls in the third and fourth innings than pace bowlers, which suggests Maharaj – if picked – could have a major bearing on the outcome.
“Conditions play a major factor,” Maharaj said of his role. “There will be a point in the game where I have to strike with the ball if it does start to turn or bounce, but for now I’m happy to hold up an end and let them (seamers) do the striking.
“Australia is not known for being a country where the ball turns a lot,” he said after the Proteas’ first training session in Hobart on Wednesday. “I’m going to stick to my game plan and hopefully that will be enough to help the team.”
Maharaj was also not apologetic about the controversy his first-innings dismissal of Australian captain Steve Smith has created. Pundits and senior statesmen within Australian cricket have questioned the verity of the technology being used for the television referral system that adjudged Smith leg-before-wicket even though he was three metres down the pitch when the ball struck his pads.
“It looked pretty straight to me and any bowler who hits the pads is going to appeal if there is half a positive that is going to come out of it. Fortunately enough, it did go in my favour,” he said of his maiden Test scalp.
“The bowlers also need a chance now these days, bats are getting bigger, grounds are getting smaller, it is nice having some things swing your way now and then.
“My first Test wicket, a very critical moment in my career, having someone of his (Smith’s) calibre as the first scalp is very special to me.”
IOLFormer England captain Kevin Pietersen weighs in on the choices facing SA selectors ahead of the Proteas’ Hobart showdown.
Original source: KP hopes to see Abbott on the field in Hobart