Much to the delight of Test cricket fanatics, Proteas batting genius AB de Villiers and ace speedster Dale Steyn are all set to make their long-awaited return in the longest format of the game. Both the cricketers have been picked in South Africa’s 14-member Test squad for the day/night four-day Test against Zimbabwe. The solitary Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe will be played at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth from December 26 to 29.
De Villiers last featured in a Test match against England at SuperSport Park in January 2016 while Steyn has been recovering from a severe shoulder injury which he picked against Australia at Perth in November 2016.
“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,” Cricket South Africa’s selection convener Linda Zondi quoted according to IOL.
“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,” he further added.
Zondi also confirmed that paceman Vernon Philander is back in the squad after missing the recently concluded two-match Test series against Bangladesh. Philander picked an injury up during South Africa’s winter tour to England.
“It is also good to have Vernon back and it is very encouraging that our four premium fast bowlers – Steyn, Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morné Morkel – are all back in the selection mix,” said Linda Zondi.
Meanwhile, De Villiers and Chris Morris have been precautionary withdrawn from the SA Invitation XI squad because of lower back strain and groin strain respectively. The SA Invitation XI squad are slated to play Zimbabwe in a three-day warm-up match at Boland Park from December 20 (Wednesday).
“AB de Villiers is struggling with lower back stiffness and has been withdrawn from the three-day warm-up match as a precaution. He is, however, available for selection for the Test match against Zimbabwe,” Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee informed.
Proteas Test Squad:
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morné Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn .
SA Invitation XI Squad:
Dominic Hendricks (captain), Temba Bavuma, Tladi Bokako, Michael Cohen, Isaac Dikgale, Leus du Plooy, Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Kagiso Rapulana, Kelly Smuts, Dale Steyn, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Shaun von Berg, Lizaad Williams.