Johannesburg – Vernon Philander makes his expected return to the Proteas cricket squad for the first Test match against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, from February 1.

“We have given a full vote of confidence to the squad of 13 that did duty in the recent Sunfoil Series against New Zealand,” said Cricket SA (CSA) selection convenor Andrew Hudson.

Hudson said Rory Kleinveldt and Jacques Rudolph would again provide the bowling and batting cover if necessary.

There were also no injury concerns at the moment, he said.

“We are very happy with the job that Rory did against New Zealand when Vernon dropped out, while Jacques provides us with a lot of experience as the cover batsman,” said Hudson.

“We have quite a few inexperienced batsmen in our top order and we feel that a bit of extra experience will be useful should the need arise.”

The second and third Test matches follow at Newlands and SuperSport Park, Centurion.

Proteas Test squad: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robbie Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn. – Sapa