De Villiers to keep wicket against England
JOHANNESBURG: AB de Villiers will keep wicket in South Africa’s first two Tests against England. He was named on Thursday as the only wicketkeeper in a 13-man squad for the matches starting in Durban on December 26 and Cape Town on January 2.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn was named in the squad after missing the final three Tests against India recently because of a groin injury.
Fellow fast bowler Vernon Philander is not in the squad after suffering an ankle injury in India. Off-spinner Dane Piedt was the only slow bowler named in the squad, with leg-spinner Imran Tahir and off-spinner Simon Harmer dropped after India beat the world champions 3-0 in India.
Also dropped was wicketkeeper Dane Vilas, who will captain South Africa A in a three-day match against England in Pietermaritzburg from December 20.
Selection convener Linda Zondi said the selection of De Villiers as wicketkeeper would strengthen the batting. “One of the issues that concerned us during the tour to India was the lack of depth to our batting, particularly in the lower order and the change in AB’s role means that we can now have a specialist batsman at number seven,” he said.
“We now feel that the side has a much better balance about it without in any way reducing the tactical options available to our captain, Hashim Amla.”
Uncapped Rilee Rossouw was named as an extra batsman, but a statement from Cricket South Africa indicated he was unlikely to play, with Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl expected to open the batting.
Temba Bavuma, who impressed as an opener in the final Test in Delhi last week, will bat in the middle order.
Test squad: Hashim Amla (captain), AB de Villiers (vice-captain, wkt), Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl.
South Africa A: Dane Vilas (captain, wkt), Stephen Cook, Reeza Hendricks, Rilee Rossouw, Quinton de Kock, Omphile Ramela, Khaya Zondo, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Chris Morris, Marchant de Lange.