Chris Morris is one of three returnees in South Africa's squad for their limited-overs tour of Australia. Morris, who missed South Africa's engagements with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe after being sidelined by injury he picked up during the IPL this year, was recalled alongside Farhaan Behardien and Dwaine Pretorius. Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram have also been included in a 15-man squad that has been shorn of experience by injuries to Hashim Amla and JP Duminy.
Morris played four games for Delhi Daredevils before injuring his back in April, and his return to international cricket has not been rushed. He missed South Africa's last two series that kicked off the home season and the team management sought confirmation of his return to full fitness in domestic cricket. Morris' response has been emphatic: in two four-day games, Morris bowled 56 overs and took 12 wickets at 16.33, and was also part of the Titans team that reached the final of the Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy.
"Chris confirmed his fitness with his excellent form for the Multiply Titans in the first two rounds of the 4-Day Domestic Series," CSA national selection panel convener Linda Zondi said. "He is the leading wicket-taker in this competition to date and also adds value as a batting option in the lower-order."
A couple of injuries meant a bit of a reshuffle elsewhere in South Africa's touring party. Amla is yet to fully recover from the finger tendon injury he picked up in the field at the Caribbean Premier League, while Duminy is set to have surgery on his right shoulder after a pre-existing injury flared up during the white-ball games against Zimbabwe. With allrounder Wiaan Mulder also ruled out by an achilles injury after being assessed by an ankle and foot specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa had some gaps to fill.
"With Wiaan Mulder ruled out at the moment through injury we need to look at our resources as far as batting all-rounder options are concerned and Dwaine, in particular, fits into this category," Zondi explained . "We have also lost a lot of experience in our specialist batting order through the injuries to Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, and Farhaan gives us another experienced option in the top order."
There was no space for Dean Elgar, while Khaya Zondo - who took part in the ODIs against Zimbabwe - also missed out. Neither fully grasped the chances offered to them in that series, but Klaasen and Hendricks' performances meant they made the cut. The presence of Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn adds experience and wicket-taking ability to a bowling attack already bristling with talent.
"We feel that we got quite a lot out of the Zimbabwe series, notably the form of Imran Tahir and the return of Dale Steyn to his very best," Zondi said. "Heinrich Klaasen took his chances well both with bat and behind the stumps and the same applies to a lesser extent to Reeza Hendricks in a series in which batting was not easy."
South Africa have 13 ODIs scheduled between now and next year's World Cup, and their tour of Australia begins with a game against a Prime Minister's XI on October 31 before ODIs in Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. South Africa then return home for their series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the new year, by which time coach Ottis Gibson expects to have settled on the squad they will be taking to the World Cup.
Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.