Pakistan v South Africa 2013-14 September 10, 2013

Smith and Steyn return for Pakistan series

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graeme Smith, who has been out of competitive cricket since May, is set to lead South Africa against Pakistan in the Test series in the UAE, which begins next month. Smith suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury while playing county cricket for Surrey, which required surgery. He is not 100% fit yet but, at the squad announcement, Smith said: "I'm feeling on track and I feel I will be there on the tour."

Dale Steyn, who missed much of the Champions Trophy and the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka due to several niggles - including side strain, groin, glute, neck and ankle problem - will be fit to play. Wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile was picked, while Jacques Rudolph missed out. Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson were both named, meaning South Africa will have two frontline spin options for the tour.

JP Duminy, who had missed South Africa's previous Test series - also against Pakistan, at home in February this year - due to the Achilles tendon injury that ruled him out for several months in the first half of the year, returns to the long format.

Smith and Steyn also feature in the ODI squad for the tour, but Jacques Kallis - who opted out of the Champions Trophy and the limited-overs games in Sri Lanka - does not feature, despite confirming his desire to play the 2015 World Cup.

Vernon Philander earns a recall to the ODI squad - the last of his eight one-dayers was played in January 2012. One-day cricket, South Africa coach Russell Domingo said, would help Philander develop his bowling further. "Vern's strengths in Test cricket are his line and length and he would have to find more variation in the one-day game. It's not about just bowling 10 overs on off stump," Domingo said. "I always judge a player's skill on how they are able to learn new things. Vern has an unbelievable desire to do well."

Kallis is expected to be back in the limited-overs set-up for the scheduled home series against India, and convener of selectors Andrew Hudson said the Pakistan series meanwhile provided the lesser-established players a chance to press their case. "This is an opportunity for new guys to put their hands up and compete for a place in the World Cup in 2015."

Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir will be among the players who want to grab that chance, having gained recalls in ODIs after more than a year on the sidelines. Alviro Petersen, Farhaan Behardien, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Chris Morris and Aaron Phangiso are the ones to miss out from the squad that played the ODI series against Sri Lanka in July.

Cricket South Africa said their T20 squad would be named after the Champions League T20, which ends on October 6.

South Africa play two Tests, the first of which starts on October 14, followed by five ODIs and two T20s, on the tour. Smith said South Africa would have to ease themselves back into Test cricket, having been away from the longest format for so long: "Going to conditions that are foreign, we just need to be smart in our preparation to be ready. We need to make sure we get the basics right. We can't expect to be flashy after such a long break."

Domingo said it wasn't ideal to go into a Test series after a long layoff, and that his team would just have to adapt fast. "We've been into Test series cold before; there's not an awful lot you can do about it. The players are professional and experienced enough to know what they must do to hit the ground running.

"There are some positives: fortunately we'll be there for nine or 10 days before we hit the first of the two Tests, so that's a bit of a plus. Included will be a three-day warm-up game, which is better than nothing at all - it's pretty typical of the ways schedules go these days. I think eight of the 15 who go will be playing first in the Twenty20 Champions League, so that's another good development."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shahzad on September 12, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    for palistan tour Marchant de Lange is better choice than Rory Kleinveldt bcz Pakistan struggled against real pace... for home series Parnell is better choice bcz he is lefty so it brings varity in the squad...!!!

  • Nix on September 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    My squad would have been: Smith (c), Amla, Kallis, DeVilliers (wk), Duminy, DuPlessis, Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Tahir, A Petersen, Elgar, Hendricks, R Peterson, DeKock.

    In my opinion, kleinveldt will not remain in the sa setup for much longer, he has not done a lot and there are a lot of younger talent like parnell and Hendricks who in time will take his place. Tsolekile whilst he is useful is old, de kock should tour with these guys to gain experience as he is def one for the future. Future SA Test Team; Elgar, Amla, De Villiers, Duminy, Du Plessis, De Kock (wk), McLaren/Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Harmer

  • Rob on September 12, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    Tsolekile and Kleinveldt still in the test squad ?! An ageing pair of players who will never be international class. Take Harmer, Abbott and de Kock on tour to get experience as at least they have a chance of becoming good international class cricketers.

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    Going to be one helluva series, too bad it is only 2 tests.

    As far as SA selection goes, how did Kleinveldt get in ahead of Abbott who took a 9-fer on test debut? Also, do we really need two bowlers who turn the ball away from the right-hander? How about some variety and throw in off-spinner Simon Harmer who has played brilliantly for SA "A"?

    Tsolekile as back-up keeper...if age is not an issue for a keeper, then that spot should be Morne van Wyk's who is the better gloveman and better batsman. On the positive side for SA cricket, what this move will do is allow QdeK some time behind the stumps for the Lions during the opening rounds of the Sunfoil Series and a chance to prove his worth in the first-class arena, and in time for the home series' against India and Australia.

    Lastly, it is time CSA named a vice-captain and groomed him to take over for the future. My pick is Dean Elgar, who captained SA Schools.

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2013, 21:20 GMT

    Predictable test squad but the one-day squad could have used more imagination. Tired of seeing the same old Smith Amla Kallis line-up. This side is due for some younger fresher faces. The next time Smith and Amla are out we might have a repeat of the last 6 months. There should be at least one new cap a tour then we're not forced to bring in the likes of Petersen and Ingram to open the batting when injuries occur. Also elgar is not likely to play in the tests and should have been given more time in the ODI's if we're serious about him. Bringing Steyn and Philander to the ODI squad are signs that the selectors are keen to address the current slide in rankings which is good but a poor reflection of the next wave of bowlers we have.

  • Blessing on September 11, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Pity its just a two test series. I'm sure many of us would have loved to see at least 3 or 4 test between these countries. Especially to gauge how good this SA side are remembering that when Eng were no.1 their decline from the top started with a failed test against spin against Pak in the UAE. With India not intent at playing SA away from their backyard it would be nice if CSA and the Pakistani cricket board were to add one or two tests to the series.

  • Voice on September 11, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    mzm149: Just remember that it is only a game! That way you won't take it so much like an insult. Furthermore, remember that your team has won a few matches after that, if it helps.

  • Shahzad on September 11, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Excellent selecting for odi... In test squad Rory Kleinveldt, Thami Tsolekile was replaced by Marchant de Lange & Quinton de Kock... De kock is young wk btsman so if he goes with test squad he gain alot of experience with that...!!

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    @Ibrarhunzai: Better talk very carefully when talking about saf test team. They have thrashed every team in last few years and it will take a massive effort from pak to win this. In my opinion two most likely results are draw and saf win. If they make flat pitches they wont be able to get 20 saf wicket, and if bowlers get slightest assistance steyn and philander will crash them. Pakistan's only hope is ajmal, but remember amla, de villiers, kallis, duminy plays spin better than most non-subcontinent players.

  • Ibrar on September 11, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    47 all out would be near to impossible this time round, also Hafeez would not be an easy victim for steyn and co. I am expecting 1-0 win for Pakistan.

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