Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was a notable omission from the South African squad named on Thursday for a white-ball tour of Sri Lanka next month, the team’s final outings before the T20 World Cup.
Du Plessis (37) retired from Test cricket in February, but said he remained available for South Africa in white-ball cricket. He has not played for the country in any format since.
The T20 World Cup is scheduled for the United Arab Emirates in October and November.
“The next two years are ICC T20 World Cup years,” Du Plessis said in a statement when he announced his retirement.
“Because of this, my focus is shifting to this format and I want to play as much of it as possible around the world so that I can be the best player I can possibly be.”
The Sri Lanka series ends on 14 September, five days before the scheduled resumption of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE in which Du Plessis is expected to play for the Chennai Super Kings.
Du Plessis was in good form before the 2021 IPL was halted in May because of Covid-19, scoring 320 runs in seven innings at an average of 64.
His last appearances for his country were in three T20Is against England in December in which he scored two of only three half-centuries hit by South Africans in those matches.
South Africa have played 15 T20Is since, most recently in Ireland.
Victor Mpitsang, convener of the South African selectors, said there had been “conversations” with Du Plessis.
“He was available for the Sri Lanka tour, but the selectors felt there would be more benefit in giving experience of sub-continental conditions to the group of players who have represented South Africa in recent series.”
Mpitsang said Du Plessis would be considered for World Cup selection.
South Africa will play three ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka, with all the matches in Colombo. The first one-day game is on 2 September.
South Africa squads
ODI: Temba Bavuma (c), Junior Dala, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.
T20I: Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, B Hendricks, R Hendricks, Klaasen, Linde, Maharaj, Sisanda Magala, Markram, David Miller, Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Nortje, Pretorius, Rabada, Shamsi, Van der Dussen, Williams.
© Agence France-Presse