Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Dale Steyn is on track to make his international comeback in the Test series against Sri Lanka next month after being included in the Proteas’ Test squad.
Steyn is currently playing for Hampshire on the county circuit in England, but he has not played any international cricket since injuring his heel back in January.
Should Steyn feature in both Tests, it is likely that he will surpass Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket. The 34-year-old only needs three more wickets to achieve the feat.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has also been included in the squad after recovering from a stress fracture, which ruled him out of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The other seamers in the squad are Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi, who replaced Morne Morkel since the latter retired from international cricket after the Test series against Australia earlier this year.
With AB de Villiers also having retired from international cricket, wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen retained his spot in the side.
Klaasen has yet to make his Test debut, but he will likely compete for a place in the Playing XI with Theunis de Bruyn.
While Klaasen is a wicketkeeper, Quinton de Kock is set to retain his place behind the stumps.
In regards to the spinners selected, South Africa have opted to pick Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and uncapped leg-spinner Shaun von Berg.
“It is very welcome news to have Dale back in our pack of world-class seamers particularly in view of the retirement of Morne Morkel,” Linda Zondi, South Africa’s convener of selectors, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “A key factor in our selection process was to cover all our bases and all possible conditions that we may encounter in Sri Lanka.
“The two additional spinners to back up Keshav Maharaj have both had excellent records in recent times in our domestic cricket. Von Berg also gives us additional batting strength in the lower order.”
The two-Test series between Sri Lanka and South Africa gets underway on July 12 in Galle. The second Test will be held in Colombo on July 20.
South Africa’s Test squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Shaun von Berg