South Africa thanked for releasing Hall

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Worcestershire's director of cricket, Tom Moody, has thanked South Africa for allowing their all-rounder Andrew Hall to play in Saturday's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy semi-final at New Road against Lancashire.

Hall has been called into the South Africa squad for the remainder of the Test series after his impressive performance in the innings victory over England at Lord's.

South Africa initially decided against releasing Hall but had a change of heart after Moody spoke to their coach, Eric Simons, yesterday. Moody said: "I spoke to Eric Simons and he was very sympathetic to our situation, and South Africa have agreed to release him for the weekend.

"Hall has shown what a good performer he is - not only in this last Test, but also in previous matches for us this season. He makes a significant difference to the balance of our side."

A South Africa spokesman confirmed: "Andrew Hall is going to be released to play for Worcestershire on Saturday after an agreement was reached between Eric Simons and Tom Moody."

Hall was drafted into the South Africa squad at Lord's to fill the all-rounder role left vacant by Jacques Kallis after he returned home to be with his critically ill father, who has since died. Kallis is due to link up with the South Africa squad again today for the remaining three Tests, but captain Graeme Smith feels Hall still has a key role to play.

"He will have a huge role to play in the rest of the Test series, especially with Shaun Pollock going back home at the time of the fourth Test," said Smith. "Andrew is the kind of character you like to have in your squad. It's been lovely to have him as a replacement for Jacques Kallis but I still think he is going to play a big role when Jacques comes back."