Nantie Hayward: on the way back? © Touchline

Two of the so-called bad boys of South African cricket, Lance Klusener and Mornantau Hayward, are set for a spectacular return to the Test team despite a series of lacklustre performances in the County Championship for Middlesex.

Hayward's likely call-up for the August tour of Sri Lanka comes after a huge climbdown by both him and the United Cricket Board, after he secretly signed a two-year contract with Worcestershire a year ago while he was still playing for South Africa at home. That in itself wasn't the problem - the fact that the contract had no get-out clause for international call-ups was.

Hayward, a temperamental fast bowler, reacted with typical hot-headedness, claiming he hadn't been looked after by the board and that he no longer had the interest or need to play international cricket. The only trouble was that he had just played a full season of international cricket after swearing Worcestershire officials to secrecy over his impending contract with them.

UCB officials were livid, and one senior administrator swore that Hayward would only play for South Africa again "over my dead body". There was even serious talk about having Hayward declared an overseas player for the purposes of domestic cricket in South Africa, a move that would have seriously impacted on his chances of finding a province willing to employ him.

But tempers have cooled, and board executives and selectors have spoken to Hayward in London and received convincing apologies and assurances of his commitment to the national cause. In public Hayward has said he regrets his decision to retire prematurely from international cricket, and is looking forward to the challenge of Test cricket again. Nobody should have any doubt, however, that his return has been fast-tracked because of the worrying lack of fast-bowling depth underneath Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock.

Klusener, meanwhile, was included in the one-day team that was thrashed 5-1 in New Zealand three months ago, but he hasn't played Test cricket since the disastrous tour of Australia three years ago. However, he seems set to be included in both squads when they are announced on Wednesday.

Gary Kirsten's name will be missing from the Test squad after a decade of faithful service, but his immediate elevation to the selection panel meant he was more involved in this team than any in which he played. And some hard decisions have been taken, too.

Neil McKenzie is likely to be cut from both squads after yet another under-achieving season, and Andrew Hall could find it difficult to regain his place after losing it through injury during the West Indian tour of South Africa at the start of the year. And it's thought that the selectors have lost faith in the unorthodox spinner Paul Adams, too.

It's not just with the axe that Omar Henry, the selection convenor, and his three cohorts are likely to be brave. Kirsten's own place in the middle order is likely to be given to the Western Province left-hander J-P Duminy, who, at 20 years and two months, will become the second-youngest player (after Adams) to represent South Africa since their readmission to international competition in 1991.

But it is the likely return of Klusener and Hayward that will raise the most eyebrows. With Klusener as fit, strong and motivated as ever before in his career a return is justified. Hayward, however, represents a gamble both in temperament and performance. But he is undoubtedly fast - and people will gamble a lot on sheer speed in cricket.

South Africa Test squad (possible):
Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Martin van Jaarsveld, J-P Duminy, Mark Boucher (wk), Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Robin Peterson, Makhaya Ntini, Garnett Kruger, Nantie Hayward.