South Africa include two newcomers for first two Tests against Australia
The four-match Test series between Australia and South Africa begins on March 1.
Updated - Feb 24, 2018 2:17 pm
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced the 15-man squad for the first couple of Tests against Australia. They have included Heinrich Klaasen and Wiaan Mulder for the first time in whites and dropped the likes of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris from the squad which defeated India by 2-1 in January. The remainder of the side is the same as the skipper Faf du Plessis is expected to get fit before the first Test match which will commence on March 1 at Kingsmead in Durban.
Klaasen has reaped instant rewards for his brilliant show with the bat in the ODI and T20I series against India. He has been added in the team mostly as the backup wicketkeeper for Quinton de Kock who will also be coming back after an injury layoff. Mulder, the exciting and young all-rounder, has been included after his impressive performances in the domestic cricket. Interestingly, if either of the two new players make their debut in the Test series, they will become 100th cricketer to represent Proteas in whites.
Klaasen has been tremendously impressive
Linda Zondi, National Selection Panel Convener of CSA, justified the inclusions of the uncapped players and believed that Klaasen could become a decent Test player as well. “Klaasen has been tremendously impressive in the white-ball matches he has played for the Proteas and we firmly believe he can become just as good a player in the five-day format. He has averaged nearly 50 with the bat in Sunfoil four-day cricket this season and hit two centuries. We are also keen to have a back-up wicketkeeper to De Kock in the squad,” he said.
Zondi also explained that the selectors want to expand the pool of all-rounders in the national team and hence they picked Wiaan Mulder in the squad. “The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of allrounders against the top quality opposition. He is a batting allrounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI. He has been the top allrounder in the Sunfoil Series with a batting average of 60 (one century) and 15 wickets at an average of 28,” he added.
AB de Villiers, Du Plessis and de Kock were injured during the series against India and are expected to get fit as they face off against Australia who are currently playing a three-day warm-up game in Benoni. The four-match Test series is expected to be keenly contested as the home side would love to continue their strong home record.
South Africa Test squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morné Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada