Aiden Markram, Heino Kuhn and Andile Phehlukwayo have been named in the Test squad for the four-match series against England.
The inclusion of Markram and Kuhn, who both impressed in the recently-concluded SA A tour of England, could well spell the end for Stephen Cook’s Test career, as he’s been dropped. There’s no room for Wayne Parnell either, who makes way for Phehlukwayo.
Markram has also been included to provide batting cover for Faf du Plessis, who might miss the first Test due to the birth of his child. Dean Elgar will captain the side in the warm-up match and will stand in for Du Plessis in the first Test match if the latter is not available for selection.
‘Heino Kuhn has shown outstanding form for South Africa A on their recent tour of England, which included a double century in the four-day match against Hampshire and a further century against the England Lions,’ commented CSA selection convener Linda Zondi. ‘He certainly deserved his place on consistent form, which also includes back-to-back Sunfoil Series seasons.
‘Andile’s selection is a continuation of our drive to develop bowling all-rounders for the Test team. He and Chris Morris will fill this role in support of Vernon Philander. At the age of 21, he is certainly one for the future.
‘Dean has impressed with his contribution as a member of the leadership group,’ concluded Zondi.
England won the last Test series between the sides in a comfortable 2-1 victory on South African shores early last year. The Proteas do, however, have the upper hand in England. They won the last two series there, in 2012 and 2008, and the series in 2003 ended in a 2-2 draw, which saw Graeme Smith score back-to-back double hundreds in his early years as skipper. England haven’t beaten South Africa at home since 1998.
The Proteas have a knack for ‘retiring’ England captains, with Nasser Hussain bowing out in the 2003 series, while Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss called time in 2008 and 2012 respectively. That’s not expected to happen this time around, with Joe Root set to captain the side for the first time.
PROTEAS TEST SQUAD: Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), Quinton de Kock (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Titans), Heino Kuhn (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Morne Morkel (Titans), Chris Morris (Titans), Duanne Olivier (Knights), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions).
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images