Dale Steyn marks his comeback to the South Africa ODI squad after being named in the 16-member squad for the home series against Zimbabwe along with the team’s first-choice spinner, Imran Tahir.
The squads for the two limited-overs series also features Warriors batsman Christiaan Jonker, who has been handed his maiden national call-up in ODIs.
Steyn, who has spent time on the sidelines due to injuries, last featured for South Africa in an ODI nearly two years ago, while Tahir was rested during South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka.
The selectors have also rested regulars Quinton de Kock and David Miller for the series with the vision to give others an opportunity and thereby, broaden the talent pool ahead of 2019 World Cup. Teenage batsman Matthew Breetzke, who represented the country at the U19 World Cup earlier this year and SA Emerging tour of Sri Lanka, will join the squad as a learning experience.
“The selection of Christiaan Jonker is part of the ongoing process of our Vision 2019,” commented CSA National Selection Panel convener Linda Zondi. “He had an outstanding debut in the T20 format against India and we want to see whether he can convert that finishing form into the longer white-ball format as well.
“We have also recalled Khaya Zondo to the ODI squad as another part of the pool broadening process. He had an outstanding quadrangular series for SA A in India against high quality opposition, scoring our only century and having a strike rate of 95.
“We still have ODI series after this one against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as we get closer to finalising our likely World Cup squad,” he added.
Kagiso Rabada has been rested for the T20I series that follows, as a part of his workload management, while Rassie van der Dussen and Gihahn Cloete could potentially make their national debuts.
“Part of our selection strategy,” added Zondi, “has been to blood newcomers first at T20 level. We have done this in the past with the likes of Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Reeza Hendricks, Jonker and Junior Dala, and we are continuing that process with Gihahn Cloete and Rassie van der Dussen. Cloete was another to have a strike rate in excess of 90 for SA A in India while Van der Dussen has had an impressive run of form in recent T20 Franchise tournaments around the world.
“Another part of our strategy going forward is to identify exciting, young talent such as Matthew Breetzke and assimilate them into the Protea culture at a young age. We have done this successfully in the past with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Ngidi and Mulder, among others and this is a continuation of that process.
“Our national captain, Faf du Plessis, will be personally taking Breetzke under his wing,” concluded Mr. Zondi.
Meanwhile, CSA continues to monitor du Plessis’s fitness. Should his recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained in Sri Lanka take more time to heal, the selectors are expected to announce a stand-in captain closer to the start of the series.
“Faf continues to make a recovery from the shoulder injury he suffered in Sri Lanka,” said South Africa’s team doctor, Dr. Mohammed Moosajee. “It is a week by week case and a call will be made in due course,” he added.
The three-match ODI series begins in Kimberley on September 30, and will be followed by three T20Is, starting October 9 in East London.
ODI squad: Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Khaya Zondo
T20I squad: Faf du Plessis (C), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Robbie Frylinck, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Lungisani Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen