CAPE TOWN – The countdown to the 2019 Cricket World Cup will officially begin for the Proteas in two weeks after Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn were recalled to the squad for a three-match series against Zimbabwe.
The South Africans will play in three ODIs on September 30, October 3 and October 6, followed by three T20 internationals against the same opposition on October 9, 12 and 14.
Tahir was given a break for the last ODI series against Sri Lanka, while Steyn returns after two years out of the 50-over arena, when he featured against Australia in SA.
A new face in the side is hard-hitting Warriors middle-order batsman Christiaan Jonker, who played T20 cricket against India previously.
Cricket South Africa said that Quinton de Kock and David Miller were being rested for the Zimbabwe matches to “give the selectors the opportunity to explore other options in broadening the talent pool for the World Cup next year”.
So that means Heinrich Klaasen will be the wicket-keeper, while the likes of Jonker and Khaya Zondo will get opportunities in the middle-order.
“The selection of Christiaan Jonker is part of the ongoing process of our Vision 2019,” national selection convenor Linda Zondi said on Friday.
“He had an outstanding debut in the T20 format against India, and we want to see whether he can convert that finishing form into the longer white-ball format as well.
“We have also recalled Khaya Zondo to the ODI squad as another part of the pool broadening process. He had an outstanding quadrangular series for SA A in India against high quality opposition, scoring our only century and having a strike rate of 95.”
There are two new figures in the T20 squad, with Warriors opener Gihahn Cloete and Lions batsman Rassie van der Dussen making the step up from franchise cricket.
Kagiso Rabada will take a break during the three T20 internationals.
“Cloete was another to have a strike rate in excess of 90 for SA A in India, while Van der Dussen has had an impressive run of form in recent T20 franchise tournaments around the world,” Zondi said.
Captain Faf du Plessis is still nursing the shoulder injury he sustained in Sri Lanka, and team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said it was “a week by week case, and a call will be made in due course”.
The selectors have also named teenage talent Matthew Breetzke to join the squad as a learning experience. He represented South Africa at this year’s ICC under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and had a good SA Emerging Tour to Sri Lanka. READ: https://t.co/kjFFqv620z #ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/QFE5u2cGIH
Proteas ODI Squad
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.
Proteas T20 squad
Faf du Plessis (captain), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Robbie Frylinck, Imraan Tahir, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
September 30: Kimberley (10am), October 3: Bloemfontein (1pm), October 6: Paarl (1pm)
October 9: East London (6pm), October 12: Potchesfstroom (6pm), October 14: Benoni (2.30pm)