SOUTH AFRICA TOUR OF INDIA, 2019
Nortje has been fast-tracked to the Test team after South Africa were left short-changed in that department. © Getty
South Africa have handed maiden call-ups to the Test squad for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, keeper-batsman Rudi Second and spinner Senuran Muthusamy for the forthcoming tour of India. The 15-man squad will continue to be led by Faf du Plessis, quashing speculations of a possible change of leadership under the Cricket South Africa administration’s overhaul. Temba Bavuma has been named as du Plessis’s deputy for the three-Test series starting on October 2 in Visakhapatnam.
Test Squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma (vc), Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Senuran Muthusamy , Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second.
Nortje, the Warriors fast bowler, has been fast-tracked to the Test team after South Africa were left short-changed in that department owing to the retirement of Dale Steyn and Duanne Olivier’s decision to take the Kolpak exit. Nortje played four ODIs against Sri Lanka earlier this year and was even picked in the World Cup squad only for a thumb fracture to rule him out of the marquee quadrennial tournament.
Dolphins spinner Muthusamy’s inclusion is a reflection of the kind of surfaces South Africa expect to encounter in the subcontinent. He and Dane Piedt will partner Keshav Maharaj in a spin troika.
Meanwhile, Hashim Amla’s retirement also opens up a spot in the top order, one that is expected to be filled by 24-year-old Zubayr Hamza, who made his Test debut earlier this year at the Wanderers against Pakistan, filling in for an injured du Plessis.
“All three newcomers to the Test side have more than earned their spurs through impressive performances in last season’s Four-Day Franchise competition,” said CSA Acting Director of Cricket, Corrie van Zyl, on Tuesday (August 13).
“We feel we have covered all the options for the conditions we are likely to encounter on the sub-continent with Muthusamy and Dane Piedt, who was far and away the leading wicket-taker in our Four-Day competition, providing the back-up to Keshav Maharaj.”
No Markram, Ngidi and Theunis de Bruyn in the T20I squad; Steyn ignored
South Africa’s tour of India will begin with a three-match T20I series, one that Cricket South Africa said they’ll use to explore leadership and batting option. Accordingly, du Plessis hasn’t been considered although he “remains an important part” of South Africa’s white-ball plans as per a media release from the board.
The squad will be led by Quinton de Kock with Rassie van der Dussen, who recently earned himself a CSA central contract on the back of an impressive World Cup performance, picked as de Kock’s deputy.
Markram, de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi were not considered for T20 selection as they will be continuing their preparation for the Test series by playing in South Africa A’s four-day matches against India A while Chris Morris did not make himself available for selection. Nortje, Bavuma and spin-bowling all-rounder Bjorn Fortuin are the three newcomers in this T20I squad.
Meanwhile, Steyn, who’d made himself available for South Africa’s white-ball assignment post his retirement from Test cricket, was not considered by the CSA’s interim selection committee, much to the fast bowler’s surprise.
“The T20 Series gives us the last chance to have a look at our leadership and batting options as the next edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is now little more than a year away which is why we have gone with an inexperienced leadership group. This is our last chance to do this before we settle on an established squad,” van Zyl said.
“Temba Bavuma and Bjorn Fortuin were two of the standout players in the CSA T20 Challenge last season while Nortje was outstanding in the Mzansi Super League until ruled out by injury. This is very much a form squad with players being rewarded for their consistent performances at franchise level. This applies equally to Junior Dala and Jon-Jon Smuts,” concluded Van Zyl.”
T20I Squad: Quinton de Kock (c), Rassie van der Dussen (vc), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.