AB de Villiers has been included in the Proteas squad for the three-match T20I series against India, but several other first-choice players will be rested.
There are three new caps in the squad, captained by JP Duminy: Titans fast bowler Junior Dala and wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who starred in South Africa’s five-wicket ODI win at the Wanderers on Saturday, and Warriors batsman Christiaan Jonker.
‘With the Test series against Australia starting only five days after the completion of the T20 series it is necessary for us to rest some of the players who have featured in virtually all our international matches so far this summer,’ said CSA national selection panel convener Linda Zondi.
‘These include Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram among the batsmen as well as most of our frontline fast bowlers. AB de Villiers has missed quite a lot of cricket this summer so he will play in the T20 series.
‘We have also decided to give Imran Tahir a break. He remains our first-choice spin bowler in both white ball formats, but we need to give more game time to Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso. The next ICC World Twenty20 is not all that far away in 2020 so it is important that we develop and examine our resources for that tournament.
‘Christiaan Jonker has been one of the most explosive finishers in domestic T20 cricket in recent seasons and his selection, together with that of Junior Dala, gives players who have performed well at franchise level the opportunity to show that they can compete at the highest level. Heinrich Klaasen’s recent performance speaks for itself.
‘Reeza Hendricks gets another opportunity for the same reason, having been the highest runs scorer in this season’s Ram Slam Challenge.’
The three T20I matches will be played at the Wanderers (18 February), Centurion (21 February) and Newlands (24 February).
Proteas T20I squad:
JP Duminy (Cape Cobras, captain), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Junior Dala (Titans), AB de Villiers (Titans), Reeza Hendricks (Highveld Lions), Christiaan Jonker (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), David Miller (Knights), Chris Morris (Titans), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors).