CAPE TOWN – Paceman Dale Steyn will make his return to the Proteas squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in July.
Steyn was included in the 15-man squad featuring three spinners – Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and the uncapped Titans leg-spinner Shaun von Berg – for the trip to the south Asian island nation, and is tuning up for the tour with a short stint at English county Hampshire at the moment.
Steyn, who turns 35 later this month, last played for the national team against India in January, but injured his heel. Now he will have a chance of breaking Shaun Pollock’s SA record of 421 Test wickets, with Steyn currently on 417.
In more good news for Proteas fans, spearhead Kagiso Rabada has recovered from a back problem that ruled him out of the IPL and he will be ready to lead the attack against Sri Lanka.
“It is very welcome news to have Dale back in our pack of world-class seamers, particularly in view of the retirement of Morné Morkel,” selection convener Linda Zondi said on Monday.
“Kagiso Rabada has also made a complete recovery from the injury concerns he had at the end of the Australia Test Series.
“A key factor in our selection process was to cover all our bases and all possible conditions that we may encounter in Sri Lanka. 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.”
Interestingly, it seems as if Titans wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen may even have a chance of taking over from the retired AB de Villiers as a specialist batsman.
“Heinrich Klaasen is the other uncapped player, although he has been part of our squad for some time. He provides wicket-keeping cover for Quinton de Kock and is also a contender for a specialist batting position,” said Zondi.
Proteas Test Squad
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Shaun von Berg.
July 4: SA arrive in Sri Lanka
July 7-8: Two-day practice match, P Sara Stadium, Colombo
July 12-16: 1st Test match, Galle
July 20-24: 2nd Test match, Colombo
July 26: One-day warm-up match
July 29: 1st ODI, Dambulla (Day match)
August 1: 2nd ODI, Dambulla (D/N)
August 5: 3rd ODI, Kandy (day match)
August 8: 4th ODI, Kandy (D/N)
August 12: 5th ODI, Colombo (D/N)
August 14: T20 International, Colombo (D/N)