South Africa in Bangladesh 2015 May 27, 2015

De Villiers to miss Bangladesh Tests, Steyn rested for ODIs

Play 01:46
Moonda: SA using Bangladesh tour for some experimentation

AB de Villiers will miss South Africa's upcoming two-Test series in Bangladesh while he takes paternity leave but will play the limited-overs matches beforehand. As cover, South Africa have named wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Vilas, who is one of four new Test caps. Opening batsman Reeza Hendricks, left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada have all earned maiden call-ups which left no room for Dane Piedt or Kyle Abbott, who were part of South Africa's last two Test squads.

South Africa's limited-overs squad retains the core of its World Cup players with only one new cap. Legspinner Eddie Leie has been included in the T20 squad. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander will be rested from the ODIs and T20s, from which Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir will also be given time off.

Although the Bangladesh tour is South Africa's first post the World Cup, it precedes a bumper 2015-16 season, which includes four Tests, five ODIs and three T20s in India and the same from an incoming England tour, which explains the part-experimentation on this visit.

The first area of South Africa's focus will be at the top, where they will look for an opening batsman to fill the spot left vacant by Alviro Petersen's retirement. Stiaan van Zyl is the favourite to assume the role, despite being a regular No. 3, and was moved to open the batting for his franchise, Cape Cobras, last summer. He enjoyed success in the latter half of the season when he scored a century and a fifty in two of the last three matches.

Whether van Zyl will get the opportunity to play in that position on the Bangladesh tour will depend on if South Africa's management prefer to use him in the middle-order in de Villiers' absence. If van Zyl is deployed lower, instead of reserve batsman Temba Bavuma or reserve wicketkeeper Vilas, Hendricks could get an opportunity to open the batting. Hendricks is a regular opener who has performed well for the South Africa A side but did not stand out last season. He was 15th on the first-class run-scorers' charts with 540 from nine matches at an average of 31.76, 349 behind the leader Stephen Cook, who is also an opener.

The South Africa attack will be overseen by a yet-to-be-named bowling coach for whom the Bangladesh tour will be the first assignment. That person, likely to be Charl Langeveldt, will work with Rabada in his first Test series. Rabada was part of the South Africa squad that won the Under-19 World Cup last year and has been fast-tracked through the franchise and national structures. He was third on the first-class wicket-takers' list last season, with 39 from eight games at 21.12 including best match-figures of 14 for 105, a franchise record in South Africa.

The only thing stopping Rabada from being handed a Test debut is where to fit him in, in an attack that includes Steyn, Morkel and Philander and could also see two specialist spinners playing, given conditions in Bangladesh. For that purpose, South Africa will take offspinner Simon Harmer, who debuted against West Indies, and left-arm spinner Phangiso, who has only played limited-overs matches to date.

Phangiso's first-class record does not stand out, with 109 wickets from 60 matches at 35.20, but he has not played as much first-class franchise cricket as he might have liked, with Lions' attack well-equipped in that department. He was preferred ahead of Piedt, who took eight wickets on debut against Zimbabwe. He was sidelined for much of last season with a shoulder injury but has since recovered.

Phangiso will also play a major role in the limited-overs matches, especially the T20s where Tahir will be rested. There could be a debut for Leie, as South Africa explore their bowling options ahead of next year's World T20 in India. The Lions' legspinner has had good results over the last two seasons and finished last season's T20 competition as the joint second-highest wicket-taker with 14 at an economy of 5.93, the lowest among the top 15 bowlers.

The squad to Bangladesh is the last one to be picked by South Africa's current selection panel, who will be replaced next month. Andrew Hudson has already announced that he will not be available for reappointment.

South Africa Test squad: Hashim Amla (capt), Dean Elgar, Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis, Stiaan van Zyl, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso, Simon Harmer, Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Vilas

ODI squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla (vice-capt), Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, JP Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, Aaron Phangiso, Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren

T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Quinton de Kock, Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, David Wiese, Chris Morris, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Aaron Phangiso, Eddie Leie, Wayne Parnell, Beuran Hendricks

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments