Cape Town - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis admitted that JP Duminy will have to come a long way back to regain his place in the Test squad after being sent home from England mid-series.
Duminy, 33, returned home ahead of the third Test against England in a move that could signal the end of his Test career.
Duminy has scored only 121 runs in his last eight innings and just 17 runs in his two innings at Lord's, which prompted him to be dropped for the second Test at Trent Bridge.
Du Plessis told reporters at The Oval ahead of the third Test that Duminy's Test career is not over, however the all-rounder will have to work for it.
"If he wants to," said Du Plessis, when asked whether Duminy could return to Test cricket.
"But obviously he's got a long way back... When JP got left out of the team it was from a performance point of view.
"He was the first to understand that his performance over the last while hasn't been there."
The inclusion of young talent such as Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram, could make Duminy's return difficult.
"With us having an extra guy in the squad like Markram, it could be his opportunity to learn on a big tour in England," said Du Plessis.
"De Bruyn will be now our next batsman in and then we have Markram, who is young and exciting.
"But one can never write off a player. He (Duminy) will have to decide if he wants to fight his way back in the Test team or if he just wants to focus on white ball cricket.
"But looking at the player of JP's quality, if he wants to come back and he put the performances in - there'll be a way back for him."
Duminy has played 46 Tests for the Proteas scoring 2103 runs and taken 42 wickets to date.