Dale Steyn has been selected for the SA Invitation team to play Zimbabwe from 20-22 December; his first extended match since November last year.
The ‘Phalaborwa Express’ has been in the repair shop since he damaged his shoulder in the first Test against Australia, and has been easing back into action in the Ram Slam T20 matches, where he has bowled just 14 overs in four matches. Recently, he was sent back to Cape Town to build up his stamina for more intensive bowling spells. His readiness for Test cricket will be more accurately assessed in this day/night game at Boland Park.
Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has already intimated that Steyn needs only show his fitness for Test cricket to get an immediate recall and resume his hunt for the five wickets which will make him the most prolific wicket-taker in Proteas history, above Shaun Pollock on 421.
Also returning to the bowling lineup is Chris Morris, who has been out since the tour to England with a back injury.
AB de Villiers, who played in the first Sunfoil match after an extended sabbatical, is another who will gain valuable gametime ahead of the day/night Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth, starting on Boxing Day, as will Temba Bavuma
The rest of the squad, under the captaincy of Highveld Lions’ Dominic Hendricks, is made up of players who have done well in either franchise or the Sunfoil Cup Provincial 3-day competitions.
‘These matches also provide opportunities to explore our talent development pipeline,’ said convener of selectors Linda Zondi.
SA Invitation XI squad: Dominic Hendricks (Highveld Lions, capt), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Tladi Bokako (Warriors), Michael Cohen (Cape Cobras), AB de Villiers (Titans), Isaac Dikgale (NW), Leus du Plooy (Knights), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Chris Morris (Titans), Kagiso Rapulana (NW), Kelly Smuts (Warriors), Dale Steyn (Titans), Ricardo Vasconcelos (Boland), Shaun von Berg (Titans), Lizaad Williams (Cape Cobras)
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix