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South Africa without IPL-bound players for Bangladesh Tests, Zondo gets maiden call-up

"On the eve of a one-day series, and with a Test squad due to be announced, we're still not sure what is happening," Bavuma said earlier in the day

Khaya Zondo celebrates his maiden double-century, Dolphins vs Western Province, 4-Day Franchise Series, Cape Town, October 30, 2021

Khaya Zondo has been impressive in South Africa's four-day domestic cricket  •  Cricket South Africa

Middle-order batter Khaya Zondo earned his maiden Test call-up, and medium-pacer Lizaad Williams also found a place in the 15-member South Africa squad for the two-match home Test series against Bangladesh.
However, South Africa will be without their entire first-choice pace attack - comprising Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen - as well as batters Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen as they chose the IPL over the Test series. Cricket South Africa had also said they would be leaving it up to the players to make the decision, which the Test captain Dean Elgar called a "litmus test of loyalty".
Wicketkeeper-batter Ryan Rickelton, who was one of the reserves for the series against India and New Zealand, is in the squad as is uncapped quick Daryn Dupavillon, who was also called up for South Africa's tour to Pakistan in 2021.
Meanwhile, Anrich Nortje once again missed out on selection with a longstanding back and hip issue. That also means there is no clarity about his availability in the IPL, where he is part of the Delhi Capitals side. Nortje last played in November 2021, at the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Batter Zubayr Hamza, who played in the first Test against New Zealand in February, withdrew from both Test and ODI series because of personal reasons, according to a CSA release.
Zondo, who has played six ODIs for South Africa, has been a consistent performer for Dolphins in South Africa's domestic 4-day tournament. In the last two domestic seasons, he has scored 786 runs in 13 matches at an average of 52.40.
The IPL-bound players will fly to India for the tournament, which begins on March 26, at the conclusion of the ODI series. According to CSA's current MoU with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), the board cannot refuse players the opportunity to take part in the tournament, as both organisations look to balance the livelihoods and opportunities of players and their duties to the national team.
"Having all your assets at your disposal is obviously something that, as a captain, you would like," Test vice-captain Temba Bavuma said earlier in the day. "Am I happy? Of course. It's a far from ideal situation. From the point of view of a player who is not affected by the IPL, we would have liked this decision to have been dealt with a lot earlier and with a lot more urgency. On the eve of a one-day series, and with a Test squad due to be announced, we're still not sure what is happening. We could have learnt from previous years."
"The loss of the IPL players is not ideal, but we back the CSA system, its ever-growing pipeline and most of all, the players we have selected," CSA convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said. "Every member of the team is selected based on the excellence that they have shown over an extended period of time and there is no better opportunity for them than now, to show us what they have to offer the Proteas on this highly anticipated occasion."
The first Test starts on March 31 in Durban and the second on April 7 in Port Elizabeth.
Squad: Dean Elgar (capt), Temba Bavuma (vice-capt), Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo