McLaren named in SA Test squad to face India
Ryan McLaren has been named in South Africa's 15-man squad to face India in the first Test starting on December 16 in Centurion. The remainder of the squad is the same as the one that did duty in the two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last month.
The selectors were originally going to announce a 12-man squad for all three Tests against India, so players who were not picked could concentrate on the round of SuperSport Series matches that start on the same day as the first Test, but changed their minds.
"We want to keep the squad together that played against Pakistan," Andrew Hudson, convenor of selectors, said. "McLaren has impressed in both formats of the domestic game played so far this season and has also come back into our thinking."
McLaren is the fifth highest wicket-taker in the SuperSport Series, with 14 wickets at an average of 20.57. He made his Test debut against England in January this year but has not played at that level since then. His inclusion will put pressure on Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell, who are also competing for the role of the fourth seamer.
Although South Africa are likely to field only one spinner, in keeping with their traditional game-plan at home, they have included both Johan Botha and Paul Harris in the squad. Similarly, there was thought to be room for only one of Ashwell Prince or JP Duminy in the top six, but both are in the squad, presumably as cover for Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, who are both injured.
Smith fractured the ring finger on his left hand while Amla suffered a contusion to his left forearm while fielding. Both injuries were sustained on the tour to the UAE but both men are expected to be fit for the first Test. Hudson said their response to treatment had been "very positive".
South Africa Test squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe