South African players Ab De Villiers, Chris Morris and Dale Steyn will move an inch closer to expected return to Test cricket when they will turn up for the South African Invitation XI against Zimbabwe in a three-day warm-up match in Paarl from December 20 to 22.
The match will pave the way for Ab De Villiers, Chris Morris and Dale Steyn, who have been away from the longest format of the game for more than a year, to prove their fitness levels and make a case for themselves for a contention to be included into the national Test squad for the one-off Test between against Zimbabwe, which starts on December 26 in Port Elizbeth.
De Villiers has not played a Test since January 2016, while Steyn missed Test cricket due to a broken shoulder, as well as, Chris Morris also make a return from an injury as well. Apart from these three players, Temba Bavuma is the other Test player who has been included in the squad for the practice match.
It will be the great opportunity for the star players ahead of an eight-Test home season, as the South African side are set to play the inaugural four-day day-night Test starting Boxing Day, against Zimbabwe, followed by three Tests against India, and then four Tests against Australia in March.
As per AFP, South Africa’s selection convener Linda Zondi said, “Chris and Dale both missed the first five rounds of the Sunfoil Series through injury while AB was only available for one match. This is an ideal opportunity for all three to get back into the multi-day arena. Temba only got limited batting time during the Test series against Bangladesh because of the dominance of our top order and we feel he will benefit from spending more time in the middle.”
Zondi concluded by saying, “These matches also provide opportunities to explore our talent development pipeline. We were very pleased with the way a similar squad performed against Bangladesh when they managed to lead on the first innings with Michael Cohen, Shaun von Berg and Zubayr Hamza being among those who excelled and they will all get another opportunity.”