Farhaan Behardien will captain a new-look South African T20 outfit in their series against Sri Lanka later this month, which includes six new caps. The 13-man squad for the first two matches has only four members - Behardien, David Miller, Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso - who were part of South Africa's last T20 matches at the World T20 in March 2016.
Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese were not considered because both have recently signed Kolpak deals to play in county cricket, thereby ending their international careers.
The radical changes to the South Africa squad - including resting regular skipper Faf du Plessis and several senior players such as Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada - come as a result of a packed fixture list which has seen scant breaks since last November. South Africa had three weeks between their Tests in Australia to the home series against Sri Lanka and will only have four days between the end of that and their trip to New Zealand. They have identified the shortest format, which does not have a major tournament coming up until at least 2018, as the area they can afford to experiment in.
"We have decided to rest some of our key senior players for this series," Linda Zondi, convener of selector said. "This is the last chance we have to do this as the ODI series that follows is an important part of our build-up to the Champions Trophy tournament in England in the middle of the year.
"Those senior players who are involved in the Indian Premier League will be playing non-stop from now until the end of August with the tours coming up to New Zealand and England in addition to the ICC event."
There are two veterans who may return for the final fixture, though. AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel, neither of whom have played since the CPL in June because of elbow and back injuries respectively, are both due to play a List A game for Northerns on January 22, three days before the final T20 in Cape Town. Should they come through that match unscathed, they will be considered for the last match and South Africa's tour to New Zealand.
Some of the new inclusions will also be eyeing that trip. Although South Africa play just one T20 in Auckland, they will know there are places up for grabs in the ODI squad, especially with the new ball. Andile Phehlukwayo, who was South Africa's highest wicket-taker in the recent ODI series against Australia and is likely to make his T20 debut against Sri Lanka, could be in contention for that role.
Dane Paterson, the Cobras quick, will also fancy his chances. Paterson took just six wickets from nine matches at 39.00 in this season's T20 competition but was in the top ten in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 editions. Titans bowler Lungi Ngidi, 20, who played a pivotal role in their victory in the domestic T20 final with 2 for 27 in four overs, is the other new face in the bowling department.
Among the batsmen, some established players have been rewarded for seasons of consistency. Jon-Jon Smuts from the Warriors, who topped the T20 competition run charts with 371 runs at 41.22, is among them. Heino Kuhn was seventh on the list and has the chance to add to his five T20 caps while Reeza Hendricks, who has played the same number of T20 internationals but did not perform particularly well for the Lions, was also included. Theunis de Bruyn, who is the reserve batsmen in the Test squad and only played half this season's T20 matches but scored 195 runs at 48.75, has also been included.
In the absence of de Kock and de Villiers, Mangaliso Mosehle is set to take the wicketkeeping gloves. Mosehle is also a handy middle-order batsman and finished eighth on the run list in the T20 tournament.
Among those overlooked were Rassie van der Dussen, who was fourth on the batting charts, Andrew Birch, who finished as the second highest wicket-taker, and Sisanda Magala, who was third. Chris Morris could not be considered because he has yet to make a comeback from a knee injury that has sidelined him for the last three months. Morris was due to play for the Titans in a first-class match last week but the fixture was rained out.
South Africa T20 squad: Farhaan Behardien (capt), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts