CAPE TOWN: South Africa have named an unchanged squad for the remaining two Tests against England as AB de Villiers prepares to lead the Test team for the first time in Johannesburg on Thursday.
De Villiers takes over the captaincy from Hashim Amla, who resigned after the drawn second Test in Cape Town with his side 1-0 down in the four-game series that sees further fixtures at the Wanderers (Jan 14-18) and Centurion Park in Pretoria (Jan 22-26).
Premier fast-bowler Dale Steyn has been retained in the squad but will undergo a fitness test on Monday as he seeks to return from a shoulder injury, while there is also place for middle-order batsman JP Duminy.
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Duminy was dropped from the team that drew the second Test this week, but scored an unbeaten 153 for his province in a domestic four-day fixture on Thursday.
After losing the first Test in Durban, South Africa had England under pressure on day five in Cape Town after both teams had scored over 600 in their first innings, a fight-back that has emboldened the selectors.
“We were highly encouraged by the performance put up by the Proteas at Newlands,” said Cricket South Africa selection convener Linda Zondi in a statement on Friday. “The very fact that they were nearly able to force a win after conceding 600 runs on the first innings speaks volumes for the character of this group of players.”
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Zondi added that the selectors felt there is no need to bring anyone else in. “We feel we have all our bases covered and also the options that will enable the team to exploit whatever conditions they encounter,” he said.
The selectors have also named a 14-man ODI squad for the five-match home series against England that starts on February 3. The only change from the squad that won 3-2 in India in October sees spinner Aaron Phangiso drop out. Batsman Rilee Rossouw, an original selection for that series but forced to withdraw through injury, is fit to take his place again. The ODI side will also be captained by De Villiers.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2016.
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