Cape Town - AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn make their long-awaited return to the Proteas Test squad for the day/night four-day Test match against Zimbabwe to be played at St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, from December 26-29.
De Villiers’ last Test was against England at SuperSport Park during January 2016, while Steyn has been recovering from a serious shoulder injury suffered against Australia in Perth just over a year ago.
A third player, Vernon Philander, is also back in the Proteas squad after missing the most recent series against Bangladesh following an injury picked up during the winter tour to England.
“It is a very exciting moment not just for South Africa but for world cricket to have Dale and AB, two icons of the game, back in the multi-day format,” commented Cricket South Africa (CSA) national selection panel convener Linda Zondi.
“After Zimbabwe we have two very tough home Test Series coming up against India, the No 1 ranked side in the world, and Australia, who have just regained the Ashes in their current series against England.
“AB and Dale bring loads of experience to the side apart from being two of the South African all-time greats.
“It is also good to have Vernon back and it is very encouraging that our four premium fast bowlers - Steyn, Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel - are all back in the selection mix.”
Proteas Test squad:
Faf du Plessis (Titans, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), AB de Villiers (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Morne Morkel (Titans), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Titans).
Meanwhile, De Villiers (lower back strain) and Chris Morris (groin strain) have been withdrawn from the SA Invitation XI to play Zimbabwe in a three-day tour match at Boland Park, starting on Wednesday.
“AB de Villiers is struggling with lower back stiffness and has been withdrawn from the three-day warm-up match as a precaution,” commented Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee. “He is, however, available for selection for the Test match against Zimbabwe.”
Young Western Province all-rounder Dayyaan Galiem has been brought into the SA Invitation XI as a replacement for Morris.
Revised SA Invitation XI squad:
Dominic Hendricks (Highveld Lions, captain), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Tladi Bokako (Warriors), Michael Cohen (Cape Cobras), Isaac Dikgale (NW), Leus du Plooy (Knights), Dayyaan Galiem (Western Province), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rapulana (NW), Kelly Smuts (Warriors), Dale Steyn (Titans), Ricardo Vasconcelos (Boland), Shaun von Berg (Titans), Lizaad Williams (Cape Cobras)
Head coach: Russell Domingo
Assistant coach: Salieg Nackerdien
Physiotherapist: Molebatsi Theletsane
Fitness trainer: Nandile Tyali
Video Analyst: Abram Ndhlovu