Vernon Philander could still play his way into the Proteas squad for the World Cup. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Proteas are closing in on their 2019 World Cup squad, with the event less than nine months away.

Their next few assignments, against Zimbabwe and then Australia, will see South Africa look to apply the finishing touches to any areas of lingering doubt that may still be there.

“We are getting closer and closer,” convener of selectors Linda Zondi said at the PMB Oval on the first day of the Africa T20 Cup yesterday.

“The Zimbabwe series gives us a chance to look at a guy like Christiaan Jonker, who has shown that he has the ability to be a finisher.

“He will play, and get a proper chance to prove himself,” Zondi said of the Warriors middle-order man.

“If you look at the schedule, Zimbabwe and Australia are quite close together. We would like to take a strong side to Australia to test those combinations, and then we start really closing in for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There is still time.”

The return of Titans ace Chris Morris is also on the horizon, and Zondi noted that the experienced all-rounder still has time to show what he can do.

There is another opportunity for the likes of Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen to impress.

“We played Reeza out of position in Sri Lanka and he adapted. We would like to see him in his preferred position now, and also look at Klaasen with the gloves.

“Quinny (de Kock) deserves a break, and Klaasen deserves his chance. At this stage, it is important to give players the best chance to perform in their usual roles for their franchises.”

Zondi said he was keen to see Dale Steyn play. The World Cup remains a goal for the speedster. He could form an impressive pace trio along with Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.

“We are looking at all our options, and the door is not closed yet. You saw how well JP (Duminy) came back in Sri Lanka.

“Players have dips in form, but the quality is still there. So, a guy like Vernon Philander is also an option, because of the skill-set that he comes with.

“So, we are using the next two series as a platform to test combinations we think can work.”

Skipper Faf du Plessis is fit again, and there is also a return to T20 action for veteran Imran Tahir, who is in the West Indies starring in the CPL.

Proteas Squads

ODI: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Khaya Zondo.

T20: Faf du Plessis (captain), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Robbie Frylinck, Imran Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.