World T20 2016 February 10, 2016

South Africa include Steyn in World T20 squad


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Moonda: Morkel brothers' exclusion not surprising

Dale Steyn will lead South Africa's World T20 attack, subject to his regaining full fitness. Steyn sat out six of South Africa's eight Tests this summer and broke down in the two that he played, first with a groin injury and then a shoulder niggle from which he is still recovering. He has not played any part in the ongoing ODI series against England and will not play the T20 series either, but should return for the T20 series against Australia in the build-up to the tournament.

The rest of the pace pack has a fresh look about it with Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott the frontline quicks and Morne Morkel, who has not been part of the T20 set-up since the series against New Zealand last August, missing out. Chris Morris and David Wiese provide the two seam-bowling all-round options. Albie Morkel, who was part of South Africa's last T20 squad in India, was also left out.

Albie Morkel was being primed for the allrounder's role and took 3 for 12 on international return in Cuttack last October. He was due to play in South Africa's ongoing ODI series against England but was ruled out before he could be included in the squad with a back problem. At the time there was some suggestion he would recover in time to play some part in the series, although it was never clarified. Morkel has since stated that he is "certainly not injured, not picked. that's all."

There are two specialist spinners in Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso, who was preferred over Eddie Leie, and eight batsmen including two wicket-keeping options in AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. De Villiers was tasked with opening the batting and keeping in South Africa's most recent T20 matches against India even though de Kock was also in the squad. De Kock sat out those matches but, having regained form in recent weeks, is certain to be included in starting XIs at the World T20.

That may mean South Africa's plan of using de Villiers in the top two and behind the stumps is scuppered and de Kock will assume that role with de Villiers moving down the order. An experienced middle-order made up of captain Faf du Plessis, de Villiers and JP Duminy will likely leave room for only one of Farhaan Behardien or Rilee Rossouw, with an allrounder to follow.

Albie Morkel was being primed for that role and took 3 for 12 on international return in Cuttack last October but has since suffered a back injury that has kept him out of the England ODIs. Morris, the IPL's newest dollar millionaire, and Wiese will compete for a spot with Rabada, Steyn and Abbott forming the core of the attack. There may only be space for two of them at a time if South Africa play both Tahir and Phangiso, although they may also call on Duminy's offspin as an additional slower bowling option.

Phangiso was not part of the squad that played T20s in India but he did play in the ODI series there, which South Africa won 3-2. He made headlines for his behaviour on the way home when he was prevented from boarding a flight from Dubai to Johannesburg because he had insulted airline personnel after overindulging in alcohol. News of Phangiso's indiscretions only broke mid-January in the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport. CSA confirmed they had sanctioned Phangiso, although they did not make public what his punishment was, but said it did not involve leaving him out of national squads.

Russell Domingo, South Africa's head coach, hoped South Africa could build some momentum ahead of the World T20 with their performances against England and Australia.

"We take some confidence from our T20 series wins against Bangladesh and India and kept relatively the same players who have had success on the sub-continent," Domingo said. "We have been playing good T20 cricket of late and this is our opportunity to showcase our skills at a World event. The upcoming T20 series' against England and Australia will be the ideal platform for us to fine-tune some combinations and to hopefully gain some winning confidence ahead of the tournament next month.

"We are in a tough group in the tournament with England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and a qualifier. All of the top six teams on the world rankings have the skill and ability to lift the trophy so it's a completely open competition with high stakes."

Du Plessis reflected on South Africa's past heartbreaks at ICC events, and said the team was hungry to "lift that elusive ICC trophy".

"The ICC World T20 is the competition that we have been working towards over the last 18 months," he said. "We have had disappointments in the past and this year is another great opportunity for us to lift that elusive ICC trophy. We have been playing together as a squad for some time now and are really hungry and motivated to put in the performances to bring us success. I'm really excited about the group of players who will be representing the country and hope we can make everyone proud."

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Quamar on February 13, 2016, 17:21 GMT

    No Delport that's a mistake...

  • Mahi on February 12, 2016, 7:39 GMT

    Morris is better @8 where albie is not.

  • Mahi on February 12, 2016, 7:36 GMT

    Players like JJ smuts, pretorious are not even in SA A side.sad to see guys like zonda ramela phangiso in SA side.

  • pradeep on February 11, 2016, 18:27 GMT

    Another wrong selections ahead of a series, which going to be costly.

    they made foolish desicion of not playing Dekok in India tests, then felt shame to include him in England tests,and lost both series.

    now another blunder in team selection

    never fit always injured Steyn, why,..... Morkal is better than Steyn and Abott ... Albie should have been in instead of behrudin.

    Albie improved his bowling skills a lot more consistent now. and in good batting form as well. SA missed albie ,JJ smuts and Petoroius like players. Morris and Wiese good selections though Also Richard Levi is in terrific hitting form. Levi should open in place of Amla. Levi is the best hitter in world. Tahir is on verge of his career end, not that consistant, better play a spinner allrounder in place ofTahir Keshav Maharaj is ideal choice, he is very economic spinner,and a useful big hitting batsman as well.

  • Steven on February 11, 2016, 17:15 GMT

    I agree Amla is going to quietly end up one of the best batsman ever through all formats and people are suggesting he shouldn't have been selected

  • carl on February 11, 2016, 16:30 GMT

    not convinced that a great bowler bowling four overs per game constitutes a headline. the t20 wc is just fanfare for the common man, all seems a bit ironic, but im sure we'll enjoy the spectacle

  • Steve on February 11, 2016, 15:13 GMT

    Sadly if we left selection to some people here, we'd have never seen the likes of Lumb, Kieswetter or even Kevin Pieterson for the Proteas . Oh wait, we didn't. And we all know it's got nothing to do with ability. They were all in the winning England T20 World Cup team.

  • Lindsay on February 11, 2016, 15:04 GMT

    How on earth has Morris made the team ahead of Albie?

  • Ashraf on February 11, 2016, 14:33 GMT

    Sadly if we left selection to some people here, we'd have never seen the likes of Rabada,Bavuma or even Ntini and Amla. And we all know it's got nothing to do with ability.

  • Siva on February 11, 2016, 13:50 GMT

    Dane Piedt should have been in; may be in place of Rilee Rossouw. Looks a very good team- the team to beat.

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