AB to keep wicket, Proteas axe Tahir

2015-12-10 10:10
AB de Villiers (AP)

Cape Town - AB de Villiers returns to the specialist role of wicketkeeper/batsman for the first two matches of the four-match Test Series against England starting at Kingsmead in Durban on December 26.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) national selectors on Thursday named a squad of 13 players for the first two matches. The second match will be played at Newlands from January 2.

De Villiers did keep wicket during last season’s home series against the West Indies when Quinton de Kock was injured but, before that, had not kept wicket in a Test match since the 2013-14 home series against Australia.

Both De Kock and Dane Vilas - who kept wicket in one Test match in Bangladesh this year and then throughout the recent series in India - will turn out for South Africa ‘A’ in their fixture against England next weekend. Vilas will captain the side and keep wicket, while De Kock will bat at No 4.

De Villiers’ return to an all-rounder role will enable Temba Bavuma to return to his normal batting position in the middle-order, while Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl will resume their opening batting partnership at the top of the order.

Uncapped Rilee Rossouw has been included in the Test squad as the extra batsman while Dane Piedt is the only spinner selected with both Simon Harmer and Imran Tahir dropping out from the squad that went to India.

With Vernon Philander on the injury list, Kyle Abbott retains his place in the four-man fast bowling attack along with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.

“One of the issues that concerned us during the tour to India was the lack of depth to our batting, particularly in the lower order and the change in AB’s role means that we can now have a specialist batsman at No. 7,” commented CSA selection convener, Linda Zondi.

“We now feel that the side has a much better balance about it without in any way reducing the tactical options available to our captain, Hashim Amla.

“The return to South African conditions made it inevitable that we would only choose one specialist spinner with JP Duminy and Elgar both available as back-up and Dane (Piedt) is the man in possession.

“Our batting line-up has served us well in the past in matches under our own conditions and I am confident they will be ready for the challenge in what is going to be a very tough series in which experience will play a vital role.”

Proteas Test squad: Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, captain), AB de Villiers (Titans, vice-captain), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Morne Morkel (Titans), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras).

South Africa 'A' squad: Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Knights), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Omphile Ramela (Cape Cobras), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras, captain, wicketkeeper), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Chris Morris (Titans), Marchant de Lange (Titans)


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