Kallis set to make ODI return
Jacques Kallis is likely to make a return to South Africa's one-day side after an absence of a year and eight months, in the upcoming series against Pakistan in South Africa. Kallis, who had made clear his intention to represent South Africa in the 2015 World Cup, last played an ODI in February 2012 against New Zealand. He was originally due to make a comeback to the ODI team against India, but when that series was curtailed from seven matches to just three, he instead will turn out against Pakistan for his return.
The national selectors have yet to pick the squad but Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach, said Kallis should be "available to play the one-day series against Pakistan." If he is, Kallis would probably be a straight swap for Faf du Plessis, who could be given the series off because of its timing.
Du Plessis will wed his fiancee, Imari Visser, in Cape Town next Saturday, the day after the two-match Twenty20 series he is to captain, ends, and a day before the three-match one-day series begins. Although both matches are in Cape Town, it is unlikely du Plessis will play the first ODI, but with no honeymoon booked as yet, he could return for the next two games. "We're still in talks about my availability," du Plessis said. "I'm not sure how its going to pan out at the moment."
AB de Villiers is one of du Plessis' best men, but will be available to play in the ODI series, although he may be rested from the T20s. Domingo indicated monitoring Villiers' workload as a priority over the next few months because of the heavy burden he carries as ODI captain, being a senior batsman and the regular Test wicket-keeper. "He is definitely going to have a break at some stage. He has [been] playing cricket non-stop since he was about nine-years-old," Domingo said. "He has a lot on his plate so there's every chance he will get one or two T20s off in the not too distant future."
The amount of international cricket means player management is something all teams are forced to consider, and South Africa are no exception. They gave Dale Steyn the first two ODIs in the UAE off to return home and rejuvenate, and allowed Morne Morkel and JP Duminy to return home before Friday's second T20 to rest as well. Rotation of this sort will continue although South Africa will also aim to balance that with consistency in selection as they look ahead to next year's World T20 and the 2015 World Cup.
They believe the groups of players they have in both formats at the moment will probably be the same units they take to those tournaments. The combinations have been sorted, and now it's about making sure they operate as planned, a department where Domingo thinks there is still work to do.
"In T20s, our thought processes with the ball [are] not exactly spot on. Although the bowlers did well, we're still bowling balls to certain fields that we shouldn't be bowling," Domingo said. "Batting-wise, Hashim has just restarted his T20 career and he is a work in progress, although he brings a lot of calmness to the team. And then it's just about our pattern of play and nailing that down properly."
As far as ODI cricket goes, Domingo was pleased with the developments de Villiers made in his captaincy, especially in regards to managing players on the field. The captain himself admitted he has settled in now and is happy with what he sees around him. "We have a lot of depth. We've seen guys like Wayne Parnell coming in and doing well and he is almost coming [in] from the outside so it shows you that there is good depth," de Villiers said. "I am very happy with the group of players we have now. I don't think it will change too much for the World Cup."
South Africa have chosen to retain the winning combination that swept Pakistan 2-0 in the recently concluded T20 series in UAE.
T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt.), Hashim Amla, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, David Wiese.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent