Selection convener Victor Mptisang and director of cricket Graeme Smith have explained the omission of Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir from the Proteas’ T20 World Cup squad.
The 15-man squad and three reserves were announced by Cricket SA on Thursday.
Du Plessis (37) retired from Test cricket in February but remains available for white-ball selection and has played in T20 leagues around the world.
Last week, he smashed 120 off 60 balls for the St Lucia Kings against the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League.
“Faf has got a wonderful record but we wanted to be consistent in selection and this is the group of players we have gone with,” said Mptisang.
Smith added: “When you’re working with free agents, you have to come together in a way that works for both the team and the free agents. They’re obviously attracted to various leagues and then the squad has its own requirements on how they build towards a World Cup.
“You try and find that balance all the time and unfortunately, with Faf in particular, we struggled to find that balance that worked for both parties.”
Regarding the non-selection of Tahir, who has retired from ODI cricket but remains available for T20Is, Smith said: “Imran has had a great run and is still successful but we were very confident in the current crop of spinners we are developing, we felt that they deserved the opportunity.”
Smith confirmed that Morris, who was bought for a record $2.2 million by the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL auction in February, had made himself unavailable for international selection.