CAPE TOWN - Boland Park is not one of the Test venues in South Africa, but it will have the delight of hosting AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris as the trio work their way back into the Proteas Test side.
Along with fellow Proteas Test batsman Temba Bavuma, the trio will feature for the South African Invitation XI against Zimbabwe in a three-day warm-up match in Paarl ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
The match will be played under the new floodlights in Paarl to help the Zimbabweans acclimatise to the conditions for the inaugural day-night four-day Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Steyn and De Villiers have not played Test cricket for over a year. In De Villiers’s case, the former Proteas captain last played a Test in January 2016, with his absence due to a combination of an injury layoff and a self-imposed sabbatical.
South Africa played Test series against New Zealand (home and away), Australia (away) and Sri Lanka (home), England (away) and Bangladesh (home) during that period, with Faf du Plessis as captain.
De Villiers is willing to work to regain his place in the Test side.
Steyn, meanwhile, only recently returned to all competitive cricket after a long-term shoulder injury sustained in Perth last November. He has been making impressive strides for the Titans in the T20 Challenge. The 34-year-old has bowled with good pace and control, but is still required to bowl a specified “number of balls” under Cricket SA’s medical guidelines before he can return to the Test side.
He could come straight back into the Test side for his long-time new-ball partner Morne Morkel, who has yet to feature in the domestic T20s after sustaining a side strain in the first Test against Bangladesh in early October.
Morris featured with both bat and ball in the Titans' victory over the Warriors and although he complained about a bout of “stiffness” after the game, seemed to operate without any major discomfort.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has earned a maiden Test call-up after being named in the 17-member India squad for the three-Test series against the Proteas, which starts on January 5 in Cape Town.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel has also been recalled as back-up wicket-keeping option for Wriddhiman Saha.
South African Invitation squad: Dominic Hendricks (capt), Temba Bavuma, Tladi Bokako, Michael Cohen, AB de Villiers, Isaac Dikgale, Leus du Plooy, Zubayr Hamza, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rapulana, Kelly Smuts, Dale Steyn, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Shaun von Berg, Lizaad Williams
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah