A brief series against ODI minnows Zimbabwe effectively affords South Africa the opportunity to mix and match throughout, especially after a comfortable victory in Kimberley.
Aiden Markram: Retain
South Africa don’t really have a reserve opening batsman in the squad and, although Reeza Hendricks could be elevated to the top of the order, that would ostensibly imbalance positions three, four and five.
Dean Elgar: Retain
Trying hard not to be pigeonholed as a Test specialist, Elgar relished a return to ODI cricket on Sunday. He failed, but should get another opportunity on Wednesday. The Mangaung Oval, too, could afford the part-time spinner a role with the ball.
Reeza Hendricks: Retain
Hendricks has managed just seven runs in the three ODIs since early August’s century on debut against Sri Lanka. Regardless, an inexperienced batting order minus the services of the rested David Miller and injured Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla requires a mainstay of Hendricks’ talent.
Heinrich Klaasen: Retain
There is no other specialist wicketkeeper-batsman in the squad – and Klaasen top-scored in Sunday’s series opener. A couple more telling contributions could make it tough for South Africa to select Quinton de Kock ahead of him for the ODIs against Australia later this year.
Christiaan Jonker: Retain
Khaya Zondo will likely only play in the third and final ODI, if at all, as the hard-hitting Jonker will be afforded an extended stay in the XI. He’ll be the first to admit Sunday’s ambitious swipe across the line to leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta was ultimately ill-conceived.
JP Duminy: Retain
An XI minus the services of international captaincy experience of Du Plesssis, Amla and de Kock demands settled stand-in leadership at the moment. Duminy read the conditions well in opting to bowl first in the series opener.
Wiaan Mulder: Replace
Dale Steyn is primed for an ODI return – and a selection ahead of Mulder would put more onus on Andile Phehlukwayo to deliver on cue with the bat, if required. Steyn ahead of Mulder would yield a much-anticipated fast-bowling union with Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, too.
Andile Phehlukwayo: Retain
The Proteas will appreciate Phehlukwayo’s changes in pace and other variations on a Manguang Oval pitch that required Farhaan Behardien and Duminy to bowl five overs each the last time an ODI was played at the venue in 2016, when England comfortably beat the Proteas.
Kagiso Rabada: Retain
Rabada was gracious enough to allow Ngidi the chance to bowl with the wind at the Diamond Oval. He won’t likely have the choice, if senior statesman Steyn returns.
Imran Tahir: Replace
Keshav Maharaj was released to the Dolphins during the first ODI, but will return to the squad for the second. The Proteas can pick him, or be less conservative and partner Tahir with fellow wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Lungi Ngidi: Retain
Momentum, motivation and confidence levels are entirely key to the psyche of a fast bowler. Ngidi heralded August’s success in Sri Lanka as the reason behind Sunday’s Man of the Match performance. Long may this fine form continue.