South Africa in Sri Lanka 2006 June 13, 2006

South Africa call up Thandi Tshabalala

Cricinfo staff

Jacques Rudolph: dropped to accomodate a second spinner © Getty Images

South Africa have announced a 14-man squad for their two-Test series in Sri Lanka which gets underway in July.

The main surprise is the inclusion of Thandi Tshabalala, a promising 21-year-old offspinner who has taken 39 first-class wickets in 17 matches for the Free State Eagles.

The squad also marks the return of Herschelle Gibbs, who was released for the final two Castle Tests against New Zealand after losing form.

Ashwell Prince has been named as vice-captain in place of Jacques Kallis who is recovering from surgery to his elbow and is not expected to return to action for at least two months. Last season, Prince deputised as vice-captain for Kallis when he was injured during the Test series in Australia.

Shaun Pollock will join the team a few days after its departure on 18 July, as he will be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

"With a demanding season ahead of us, a pragmatic approach to managing player workloads will mean rotating our players through the season," explained Haroon Lorgat, the convenor of the national selection panel. "We have taken a bold step to include Thandi in our efforts to create more spin options. We want him to develop and gain experience with the squad, especially in subcontinent conditions.

"We expect to face tough choices this season as the quality of our fringe players improve, and Jacques Rudolph can consider himself unlucky not to be in the squad following a successful tour of Sri Lanka with the A team a year ago. He was left out to accommodate a second spinner, and we opted not to carry an extra batsman to Sri Lanka for only two Tests".

South Africa squad Graeme Smith (capt), Ashwell Prince (vice-capt), Hashim Amla, Nicky Boje, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippennaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Thandi Tshabalala.