Two new faces in South African squad for first Test
Two uncapped young players, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, have been included in South Africa's 13-man squad for the first Test against England that starts at Port Elizabeth next Friday (December 17).
de Villiers, 20, is a right-hand opening batsman for Titans, while Steyn, 21, who also plays for Titans, is a right-arm fast bowler. Though de Villiers can keep wicket, if he is picked as an opening batsmen, as is likely, Thami Tsolekile will retain the gloves.
The squad was announced by Haroon Lorgat, South Africa's new convenor of selectors. "de Villiers and Steyn are two of the most exciting young players in the country at the moment," he said. "AB has been in rich form in the SuperSport Series both this season and last and has followed that up with good form in the Standard Bank Cup. He will be a strong candidate to open the batting with Graeme Smith.
"Steyn has that rare commodity, real pace, and although he is relatively inexperienced, he has shown tremendous potential this season and his form has been outstanding."
Herschelle Gibbs and Andre Nel are both recovering from injury and so were not considered for the squad, while Nicky Boje, who has recently had minor surgery to remove a growth from his neck, will have to pass a fitness test before the game. The only change from the side that lost at Kolkata last week is Justin Ontong, who has been left out.
"We have stuck, by and large, to those players who toured India, and displayed grit and courage in very tough circumstances," Lorgat added. "We need battle-hardened mentally tough players for this series, and I believe we have them."
South Africa squad for first Test
Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Andrew Hall, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Boeta Dippenaar, Zander de Bruyn, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Thami Tsolekile (wk), Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.