Johannesburg – South Africa have dropped spinner Imran Tahir for two Test matches against New Zealand next month, opting instead for veteran slow bowler Robin Peterson.
The Proteas selectors said on Thursday, after naming a 13-man squad, that they had shown faith in the team that defeated Australia in Perth last month to win the three-match series 1-0.
“I don't think anybody will be surprised that we have kept faith with the 11 players who did duty in the winning Test match against Australia at Perth, as well as Rory Kleinveldt and Jacques Rudolph, who played two Test matches each,” said selection convener Andrew Hudson.
Hudson said Tahir remained part of their future plans for the national Test squad. He was left out along with Thami Tsolekile, who had travelled to Australia as back-up wicketkeeper, middle-order batsman JP Duminy, who is recovering from Achilles surgery, and all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who was called up as cover during the tour Down Under.
“It was a tough call to leave out Imran Tahir but we have to acknowledge that Robin Peterson put up an outstanding performance at Perth where he made a significant contribution to our victory. Imran remains very much in our plans going forward.”
The selectors were confident that veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis would recover in time from the hamstring injury he picked up in Australia.
“This will get us back to the balance that has served us so well this year, with a combination of seven specialist batsmen and five specialist bowlers,” Hudson said.
“Being able to field seven specialist batsmen was a key factor in both the Test series successes against England and Australia, most notably at Adelaide where we had to bat long and deep to get ourselves out of trouble.”
Hudson said top-order batsman AB de Villiers would continue to keep wicket, and while Tsolekile was not included in the squad, he would be on standby as the back-up keeper.
Proteas Test squad: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn. – Sapa