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Smuts withdrawn from South Africa T20I squad due to fitness issues; Linde named as replacement

Allrounder George Linde has earned a maiden call-up to the South Africa squad for the upcoming T20Is against India. Linde will replace allrounder JJ Smuts, who was withdrawn from the tour after failing to meet the side's fitness standards, according to Cricket South Africa.

Linde is currently in India with the touring South Africa A side and will join the senior squad on their arrival. In the ongoing one-day series against India in Thiruvananthapuram, Linde has scored 69 runs at an average of 34.5, including one half-century, and has taken three wickets with his left-arm spin. Having made his T20 debut in January 2012, he has been a source of quiet overs for Cape Cobras in domestic cricket and was able to translate that skill to the Mzansi Super League as well, playing half of the Cape Town Blitz's 10 games last year, picking up five wickets at an average of 18.

The call-up to the T20I squad had marked a comeback for Smuts, who last played an international game for South Africa in February last year, during India's tour of the country, and had missed out on selection for the home series against Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. His selection had been based on consistent performances at the franchise level. In CSA's T20 Challenge, he scored 205 runs at a strike rate of 143.35, including a century, and picked up three wickets.

The South Africa squad will leave for India on Friday. The T20I series will begin on September 15 in Dharamsala, followed by the three- Test series, which will be played between October 2-23.

South Africa T20 squad (updated): Quinton de Kock (capt), Rassie van der Dussen (vice-capt), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde