Imran Tahir and Dane Piedt have been included alongside Simon Harmer as Cricket South Africa has chosen to take three spinners to India for the four-match Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Series. CSA convener of selectors Linda Zondi says: ‘We want to keep all our options open for the Test Series. We also have JP Duminy as an option in this department and I believe we have covered all our bases by having both holding and attacking spin options in our squad. It is good to have Dane back from his injury and Imran was our number one spinner for our last Test series on the sub-continent against Sri Lanka.’ Zondi also confirmed that Dane Vilas would retain the gloves in this format: ‘It is very important that we maintain consistency in our selections and Dane hardly had the chance to make his mark in Bangladesh where the series was so badly disrupted by the weather.’
Tahir also returns to the Proteas T20 squad in the place of Aaron Phangiso while there are also recalls for Chris Morris and Marchant De Lange. Zondi says: ‘The tour to India is a very long one. It lasts for more than two months and we can’t expect Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to field too heavy a workload. Chris comes back after a spell out through injury while Marchant has done well at the IPL. It is an ideal opportunity to explore our back-up options ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 which will be played in India. It is vital in this format to get wickets up front. Imran is our number one bowler in the T20 format and we need him to play every series between now and the ICC tournament while Eddie Leie will be our second spinner as we want to have another look at what he can do. Chris is also a potential candidate for a position as a bowling all-rounder in the ODI team so this is another option we want to explore. We also believe he is well suited to the conditions we will encounter there.’
Rilee Rossouw has been ruled out of the T20 squad through injury but should return to full fitness in time for the ODI series. His place in the T20 squad will be taken by new cap, Khaya Zondo. The latter had the second best batting average of 38.50 (behind Quinton De Kock) for South Africa A in the recent triangular ODI series in India and also had the best strike rate of those who played in all four matches (106.94).
He will become the 65th player to represent the South Africans in the T20 format.
Proteas Test squad: Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, capt), AB De Villiers (Titans, vice-capt), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf Du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Simon Harmer (Warriors), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Stiaan Van Zyl (Cape Cobras), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras).
Proteas ODI squad: AB De Villiers (Titans, capt), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Quinton De Kock (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf Du Plessis (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), David Miller (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Chris Morris (Titans), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras).
Proteas T20 squad: Faf Du Plessis (Titans, capt), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Quinton De Kock (Titans), Marchant De Lange (Titans), AB De Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Eddie Leie (Highveld Lions), David Miller (Dolphins), Chris Morris (Titans), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), David Wiese (itans), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins).