CAPE TOWN Opener Alviro Petersen will replace the injured Graeme Smith in the South Africa squad for next month's ICC Champions Trophy, Cricket South Africa confirmed on Tuesday.
Petersen is a regular in the test squad but has made just 17 one-day international appearances since his debut in 2006 with a modest average of 31.
CSA Selection Convener Andrew Hudson believes that Petersen's stellar early-season form with English county side Somerset will be a major asset at the June 6-23 tournament being staged in England and Wales.
"We have decided on a like-for-like replacement," Hudson said in a statement.
"Alviro is the obvious choice in this regard. He is a specialist opening batsman and also brings some very useful experience on board following the loss of both Smith and (all rounder) Jacques Kallis.
"He is in the form of his life, having made almost 500 runs in three England County Championship Division One matches for Somerset, including two centuries, at an average in the high 80s.
"With the tournament being played early in the English summer we envisage that bowling conditions will favour the seamers and getting good partnerships going up front is going to be paramount to success.
"He handled these conditions extremely well during our Test tour to England last year."
Smith was forced to withdraw from the squad after undergoing surgery on his left ankle that will keep him sidelined for four to six months.
South Africa open their Champions Trophy Group A campaign on June 6 against India, and will also face Pakistan and West Indies in their pool.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien)