Rudolph back in Proteas squad
Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Saturday recalled Jacques Rudolph of the Titans to the Test squad after an absence of five years and also named two new caps in Dolphins leg spinner Imran Tahir and Cape Cobras bowling all-rounder Vernon Philander.
The selectors have named a squad of 14 for the two-Test series against Australia which starts at Newlands on November 9 with the second match at the Wanderers Stadium a week later.
The squad includes Titans batsman AB de Villiers who is recovering from a hand fracture and will be subjected to a fitness Test before the start of the series.
Rudolph played the last of his 35 Tests against Sri Lanka in August, 2006, and then went into a self-imposed exile in 2007 when he signed a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire with the aim of developing himself into a more complete cricketer. His intention was always to resume his international career for the Proteas.
He has certainly achieved that and has returned to South African cricket as a dominant player. He scored four centuries and made more than 900 first-class runs last season. He then led a successful South Africa A tour to Zimbabwe and made centuries in two of his last three games for Yorkshire in the off-season.
This season he has gone from strength to strength, making more than 500 runs in three matches, including two centuries, one of which was a double.
Imran and Philander have both represented the Proteas in the limited overs format but have yet to play in five-day Test matches.
“Jacques will open the batting with Graeme Smith,” commented selection convener Andrew Hudson. “His experience and current form make him an asset to the Proteas and at the age of 30 he has plenty of good years of cricket ahead of him.
“Jacques has underlined once again the importance of good domestic form and the fact that it is the gateway to national selection.”
The selectors also announced the South Africa 'A' squad to play Australia in a four-day tour match at Senwes Park from November 1-4.
Alviro Petersen of the Highveld Lions will captain the side. Rilee Rossouw of the Knights could not be considered because of injury while there are interesting new fast bowling options in Pumelela Matshikwe of the Highveld Lions and Marchant de Lange of the Titans.
“The 'A' side must be seen as a mix of players challenging for places in the Proteas’ squad as well as others we have identified as having the potential for the future and whom we now need to test at a higher level than franchise cricket,” commented Hudson.
“We have to explore our options for the future.”
Proteas Test squad:
Graeme Smith (Cape Cobras, captain), AB de Villiers (Titans, vice-captain), Hashim Amla (Dolphins), Mark Boucher (Cape Cobras), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Paul Harris (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Jacques Kallis (Cape Cobras), Morne Morkel (Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Ashwell Prince (Warriors), Jacques Rudolph (Titans), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Warriors)
South Africa 'A' squad:
Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions, captain), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Marchant de Lange (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Knights), Heino Kuhn (Titans), Pumelela Matshikwe (Highveld Lions), Ryan McLaren (Knights), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Robin Peterson (Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras)