New Zealand v South Africa 2012-13 December 13, 2012

Du Plessis captain for T20s; Tahir left out of Tests


Faf du Plessis will lead South Africa in the three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand in December. AB de Villiers, South Africa's regular limited-overs captain, is part of the squad but won't captain because his workload will be managed over the summer.

The T20 squad has four new players, including a new wicketkeeper to relieve de Villiers of his burden. Quinton de Kock, who turns 20 on Monday and was part of South Africa's most recent under-19 World Cup squad, will don the gloves.

De Kock is seen as one of the options for a permanent wicketkeeper to replace Mark Boucher in all formats. "We need to find a long-term solution because ultimately we [want] to find a top-six batter in the mould of an Adam Gilchirst to do the job in Tests," Andrew Hudson, convenor of selectors, told ESPNCricinfo.

"AB may eventually end up batting No.4 in Tests, when Jacques Kallis is not around, and if he has to take on a more senior batting role, we will need someone else to keep. It will be nice to try Quinton out - he has shown glimpses of talent and we are going to have a look at him in the shorter versions. But, that's not to say to the other keepers in the country that we have passed them by, the door is still very much open."

But it seems to have closed on Thami Tsolekile. Lions' gloveman was nationally contracted in February and touted as Boucher's replacement, but has not played since then. A source close to team management said Tsolekile would be given a run against New Zealand, but the selectors have decided otherwise. He travelled to England and Australia but was left out of the Test squad, which was also named today.

Despite all indications to the contrary, Hudson said Tsolekile remains in the plans. "He has not fallen out of favour. If anything were to happen to AB, he will play." De Villiers has had a history of lower-back problems which recurred after the England series in August, but he has declared himself fully fit.

He played for Titans in their one-day cup playoff match on Sunday, and although he admitted to being "a bit stiff," he maintained that he experienced no pain. In fact, he said being in the field in that match (Heino Kuhn had the gloves) was harder on his body than wicketkeeping.

He will have to embrace fielding in the shorter formats though, with de Kock set to take over that role as part of a more youthful T20 squad. Richard Levi has been retained in the squad but with Hashim Amla rested, could open the batting with du Plessis or new-comer Henry Davids. The Titans limited-overs captain made a name for himself during the Champions League T20 as an aggressive batsman and is second on the one-day cup batting charts.

The CLT20 also shone a spotlight on left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso. He finished as the joint second highest wicket-taker and bowled miserly spells for the Lions. Phangiso has been picked as an additional slow-bowling option to Robin Peterson. Johan Botha, who has relocated to Australia, was not considered for selection.

The Lions reached the final of the Champions League Twenty20, and will also play in the final of the one-day cup, so it's no surprise that their players are getting recognition. Allrounder Chris Morris, who travelled with the South African squad for the unofficial T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe in June, is also part of the national squad. Morris, also a big hitter, has bowled consistently in the mid-140kph this season and is the only fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad.

Wayne Parnell, who has been working on his batting, is also in the squad along with fellow left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe. There has been a recall for middle-order batsman David Miller in the absence of the injured JP Duminy.

Hudson said South Africa will use the series against New Zealand to concentrate on their combinations, with an eye on the 2014 World Twenty20. "The mix is going to be key. There will be some of the older players that maybe we will move on from. Going into the tournament in two years' time, we want to have a mix of core and some youngsters. We need some flair and we need to bring something different to the party as opposed to just a regular side," he said.

The Test squad, though, is focused on consistency, with the same squad that defeated Australia in Perth retained for the two fixtures against New Zealand. Jacques Rudolph, who was dropped for the final match, has been picked but is unlikely to play. "We will probably look to play Dean [Elgar] and Jacques is the reserve batsman," Hudson said.

The only casualty besides Tsolekile is legspinner Imran Tahir, whose performance in Adelaide has left him needing to do some soul searching. Tahir finished with figures of 0 for 260, the most expensive figures without a wicket in Test history and was replaced with Robin Peterson, who took six wickets in Perth. "Robbie has just gone ahead of Imran, but he remains part of our plans in future," Hudson said.

South Africa have two injury concerns. Jacques Kallis is recovering from a hamstring strain, but is expected to be fit to play in the Tests as an allrounder, and Graeme Smith has bruising on his elbow. Smith was hit in the nets in the lead-up to the one-day cup playoff and will not be fit to play in the final for the Cobras, but the team management is confident he will be ready for the New Year's Test.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Feel sorry for Tahir. Pakistan ignored him; SA gave him opportunities that players can only dream of. It just didn't pan out. Maybe the sun will shine on him again on a different day and pitch. Hopefully its just a temporary slump.

  • Jayaesh on December 15, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    @Yogi108, this article is about South Africa selection not abot team India,what's with this IPL bashing anyways, what kind of Indian fan are you questioning Indian fans choices, why should Indians feel apologetic about loving shorter formats of the game ?? it looks like you have no connect with the common fan who sat and watched IPL match at 4 pm in afternoon in 45 degree plus heat packing the stadiums to the maximum. As an Indian cricketfan my support is not only limited to those elite 15 playing for Team India but to all India A, u-19,cricketers playing in IPL,Ranji teams in all formats.Cricket community is a small place as Cricket being a minority sport ,so please quit the hating and love all three formats of the game.

  • Vikesh on December 15, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Awesome T20 selection of young exciting players. Its tough to drop Tahir. Aussies attacked his bowling the same way SA has been taking on spinners recently.

  • Dru on December 14, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    I must admit didnt expect Faf to be appointed captain but its a good move and refreshing to see the selectors thinking ahead. I recently made a comment that I can see SA dominate for 10 years based on the players who dont play for the test team and alot of them are showing up in this T20 squad. De Kock is the way to go over the rest of the half based options around. Wayne Parnell hanging on by a thread I reckon but otherwise its a good squad.

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Raj - that is the keeper, he doesn't have to wear pads. Though he is wearing fielding pads under his trousers.

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    It's a good decision.It'll be a new experience for du plessis and also it'll reduce workload on de villiers so he can play his natural game.

  • Thabang on December 14, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    This team is just being used to rebuild the T20 team, players like Albie Morkel (injured) Kallis (rested/injured) Amla (rested) are still part of this team.The selectors just want to see other players that are performing in the domestic scene.

  • Paul on December 14, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Nameet - Albie is injured

  • Tshego on December 14, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    No other spinner in SA is better than Imraan. How do drop a player after one dismal test. We all know all other spinners are defenders and not attackers. Bad decision

  • Yogesh on December 14, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Regardless of whether this player should have been selected or that one not, it is very impressive that the SA selectors have an eye on the long-term when selecting their teams. This is the reason they are number 1 and why the team I support (India) is now worse than even Bangladesh: BCCI refuses to take any decisions that are based on performance and potential alone. There are regional politics to consider, plus the Indian culture is one of deference to seniority no matter how senile or useless the seniors are. Add to that sub-standard pitches that discourage bowlers and the cancer that is killing Indian cricket - namely, IPL - and you can see why Indian cricket will suffer a lingering malaise for years to come, as its fans will not boycott the "junk food" of IPL matches that is being fed to them.

  • No featured comments at the moment.