Kallis and Duminy to be included for Champions Trophy
Jacques Kallis will make a return to South Africa's one-day squad for the Champions Trophy, which is due be announced in Cape Town on Thursday. The final 15 will also see a return to action for JP Duminy, who has not played competitively since last September.
Duminy has spent the last six months recovering from a ruptured Achilles' tendon which he sustained on the first day of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane last November. He was named in the XI but was injured before he could take any part in the fixture.
As of last Wednesday, he was sprinting at 80%, batting unrestricted and was due to start bowling at full capacity this week. "We are exercising extreme caution because of the sensitive nature of the injury but we remain cautiously optimistic of his speedy return to action," Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager who is also a medical doctor, said.
South Africa's other injury concern, Faf du Plessis, has also made a full recovery in time for the tournament. Du Plessis missed the last two matches of South Africa's March ODI series against Pakistan with lower-back trouble. The niggle meant he was unable to bowl throughout the series and it eventually became too painful for him to bat as well.
He underwent a six-week rehabilitation program and left for the IPL last week, where he has joined up with the Chennai Super Kings. Although du Plessis has not played a game yet, he is available to make his return imminently.
As much as both his and Duminy's returns have been eagerly anticipated, it's the inclusion of Kallis that will lift South Africa's hopes as they aim to claim major tournament silverware for the first time since 1998 when they won this tournament in Dhaka.
Kallis no longer takes part in bilateral one-day series, as part of the management plan to ensure he is fit for as many Tests as possible. He has, however, made no secret of his desire to compete in the next World Cup. He is not completely out of short-format practice as he has been playing in the IPL.
Gary Kirsten previously stated South Africa will reserve the right to turn to Kallis for what they deem important enough situations and this is one of them. Although Colin Ingram has settled into the No.3 role and Ryan McLaren has been in the allrounders' spot, Kallis' value will be welcomed. Both Ingram and McLaren are likely to be retained but Chris Morris, the other allrounder in contention, who has given a good account of himself at the IPL, is likely to miss out.
Others for whom there will be no space are promising wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock as South Africa have reinstalled AB de Villiers as their wicketkeeper in the 50-over format, Titans opening batsman Henry Davids, because Graeme Smith will still be used and middle-order batsman Dean Elgar.
The bowling attack should have a familiar look and will be spearheaded by Dale Steyn. Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Rory Kleinveldt will make up the rest of the pack with Robin Peterson the lone specialist spinner. Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir and Roelof van der Merwe, were all named in the preliminary squad but will have to wait for a turn in more helpful conditions.
South Africa's 30-man preliminary squad: AB de Villiers, Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld
South Africa squad (probable): AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, Rory Kleinveldt, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent