South Africa will ensure they have adequate reserves to call during their tour of England by basing their A squad in Ireland during part of the trip. It is a strategy that mirrors England's 2010-11 Ashes-winning tactics when their performance squad spent time in Brisbane and Perth, a visit which overlapped with the first two Tests of the series.
South Africa A will play two four-day matches, two fifty-over fixtures and four twenty-over games against the Ireland national side. Their stay in the country will run concurrently with the third Test against England at Lord's and the first four ODIs.
"This is something we are going to do on a more regular basis, where we can," Vincent Barnes, High Performance Coach, who is in charge of the A side told ESPNcricinfo. "It means if the guys are needed to play for the senior side, they will be right there, instead of having to come in from the cold. Some of the players who are part of the ODI squad but not the Test squad will be able to play in that series."
Players such as Faf du Plessis, Marchant de Lange and Justin Ontong, who are all considered close to the Test squad and part of the limited-overs plans, are likely to feature in the series. "It's all about what Gary [Kirsten] feels he may need and everything is being geared to make sure players are ready for international cricket," Barnes said.
"We will also look to do the same thing next year, when the national side tours Sri Lanka, we will send a shadow side. It's especially important to send an A side when the away tours take place during our off season."
South Africa A have a busy schedule in the next few months. They will play Sri Lanka A in two four-day matches in Durban starting on June 30, before travelling to Zimbabwe to play in a one-day tri-series, featuring Sri Lanka A and the hosts.