Kallis rested from ODIs against New Zealand
South Africa have named four uncapped players - Quinton de Kock, Aaron Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien and Rory Kleinveldt - in their ODI squad for the three-match series against New Zealand this month. Jacques Kallis was rested while JP Duminy is still recovering from the Achilles' injury he sustained in Australia.
In keeping with their redesign of limited-overs sides, six of the group that last played fifty-over cricket for South Africa in England in September have been left out. Apart from Duminy, whose exclusion was forced, Dean Elgar, Wayne Parnell, Albie Morkel, Imran Tahir and Justin Ontong all missed the cut.
Elgar is perhaps the most surprising omission as convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said he was "part of their future plans." He played in all five fixtures in England, batted in four of them but scored 93 runs and not a single half-century. He has since played Tests for South Africa and may be tasked with focusing on that. Colin Ingram has taken his place for now, having not played for South Africa in a year.
Ontong may consider himself unlucky having done well when he was picked in the Twenty20 squad against New Zealand. He played in the final fixture in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day and brought up his highest score of 48.
Tahir was dropped from the Test squad after his disastrous performance in the Adelaide Test where he conceded 260 runs without taking a wicket. He has since been sent back to the domestic game to regain confidence where he took 12 wickets in a first-class fixture this weekend to show that he is slowly getting there.
Parnell picked up a wrist niggle which ruled him out of the Twenty20s and it seems he has done the same for the ODIs. He will see a specialist this week to determine an estimated come back period. Morkel has also battled with injury recently and has not overcome his chronic ankle problem. He may even require surgery to overcome the problem completely.
Someone who has recovered from an ankle problem is Lonwabo Tsotsobe who has been named in the ODI squad. Tsotsobe was due to play in the T20s against New Zealand but needed a two to three week rest period after his ankle flared up. Once the top-ranked ODI bowler in the world, Tsotsobe has also fallen down the pecking order and will want to rectify that in this series.
AB de Villiers returns to captain the side after CSA granted his request to be rested from the T20s. He is unlikely to keep wickets, however, as part of his workload management program. De Kock will take the gloves, as he did during the T20 series.
The rest of the group is made up of a familiar core of experience with Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, the pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, although both may be rested as the series wears on, and Robin Peterson.
Petersen will be partnered by Aaron Phangiso who played in the T20s after an impressive domestic run. The latest spin decision means that Johan Botha is unlikely to make a comeback. Botha relocated to Australia last October after he asked to be released from his CSA contract and although he remains available for selection, it seems the administration is looking to the future.
"We only have the three ODI matches against New Zealand plus another five against Pakistan to prepare our squad for the Champions Trophy in the middle of the year," Hudson said. "The Champions Trophy also marks the halfway point to the next World Cup so this is a critical part of our preparation to win these two major events."
South Africa's quest for ICC silverware is well documented. The last trophy they won was the ICC KnockOut Trophy, which later became the Champions Trophy, in 1998 and tried everything in pursuit of further glory. The next experiment in that regard starts with the series against New Zealand.
The three matches will be played in Paarl, Kimberley and Potchefstroom, starting on January 19, three days after the second Test is scheduled to end. Ryan McLaren, who is part of the one-day squad, has been called up as cover for the Test squad but will not play. Vernon Philander is nursing a left hamstring strain and is likely to sit out of the Port Elizabeth match. Kleinveldt will take his place and McLaren will only be used in an emergency.
South African ODI squad: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Robbie Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.