Just hours after bowling 26 overs in his first first-class game since January, Dale Steyn was named in the Proteas squad for the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in July.
The Proteas fast-bowling spearhead is playing in England to hone his fitness and get game time, but he has played just one one-day game and one innings of the first-class match against Surrey since injuring his heel in the first Test against India in January.
But he said in an interview after the close of play on day two: ‘The body is feeling good. I got through 26 overs in the first innings, which was pretty good but more than I thought I would have to bowl.
‘You obviously want more wickets but I don’t want to judge myself right now. Coming back from injury, I want to make sure I can play without picking up another injury which is more important to me. I felt it was OK.
‘I should be good to go for Sri Lanka if selected. I just needed to play some cricket.’
The 15-player squad also sees the return of Titans wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi whose only previous Test was the pink-ball match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2016, and the first-time inclusion of the uncapped Titans leg-spinner Shaun von Berg.
‘It is very welcome news to have Dale back in our pack of world-class seamers,’ said selection panel convener Linda Zondi, ‘particularly in view of the retirement of Morne Morkel.’
Kagiso Rabada has also made a complete recovery from the stress fracture he developed in the Australia Test series injury and which prevented him playing in the IPL.
‘A key factor in our selection process was to cover all our bases and all possible conditions that we may encounter in Sri Lanka,’ added Zondi. ‘The two additional spinners to back up Keshav Maharaj have both had excellent records in recent times in our domestic cricket. Von Berg also gives us additional batting strength in the lower order.
‘Heinrich Klaasen is the other uncapped player, although he has been part of our squad for some time. He provides wicketkeeping cover for Quinton de Kock and is also a contender for a specialist batting position.’
Proteas Test squad: Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Theunis de Bruyn (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Lungisani Ngidi (Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Dale Steyn (Titans), Shaun von Berg (Titans).
Itinerary: 4 July: SA arrive in Sri Lanka; 7-8 July: Two-day practice match, P Sara Stadium, Colombo; 12-16 July: 1st Test, Galle; 20-24 July 2nd Test, Colombo; 26 July: One-day warm-up match; 29 July: 1st ODI, Dambulla (day); 1 August: 2nd ODI, Dambulla (D/N); 5 August: 3rd ODI, Kandy (day): 8 August 8: 4th ODI, Kandy (D/N); 12 August 12: 5th ODI, Colombo (D/N); 14 August: T20 International, Colombo (D/N)