Uncapped fast bowler Andile Phehlukwayo has been named in the South Africa squad which will host Australia for five ODIs from September 30. Captain AB de Villiers, who missed South Africa’s last series – the Tests against New Zealand – due to an elbow injury, is back. The world’s No. 1 bowler in Test cricket, Dale Steyn, also returns to the 50-overs format after being rested for South Africa’s previous ODI assignment, the tri-series against West Indies and Australia in the Caribbean.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel and batsman Rilee Rossouw, who hurt his shoulder during that tri-series, were not considered for selection due to injury. Morkel had injured himself during the Caribbean Premier League. While Steyn’s presence covers for the absence of Morkel, David Miller was brought in to replace Rossouw.
Miller was South Africa A’s top scorer in the just-concluded quadrangular series in Australia, where he top-scored for his team with 332 runs at 110.66. Phehlukwayo was the side’s leading wicket-taker in the quadrangular, with nine wickets at 25.77 and an economy rate of 4.98.
“Andile was our leading wicket-taker for South Africa A in the quadrangular series and he has been knocking on the door for some time following his strong performances in last season’s Momentum One-Day Cup,” CSA selection committee convener Linda Zondi said. “It remains our practice to reward players who do well at franchise and South Africa A level.”
Zondi said Rossouw was fit to bat again, but the selectors decided against playing him since fielding would still prove difficult for him. “Rilee Rossouw played two practices matches for the VKB Knights at the weekend, when he batted freely, but still had issues with his throwing and it will be beneficial for him to start his comeback in the Sunfoil Series four-day competition which starts early next month.”
In all, nine of the 16 players named for the Australia series are players of colour, of which three are black African. This is significant given the selection targets announced earlier this month after CSA’s AGM. As per the targets, the team must field a minimum average of six players of colour in the XI, of which at least two must be black African, effective immediately.
Leading into the five matches against Australia, South Africa are scheduled to play a one-off ODI against Ireland on September 25. CSA named the squad for that match as well, comprising 13 players. Batsman Temba Bavuma, who has played 11 Tests but is yet to debut in ODIs, and the uncapped Dwaine Pretorius are the new faces in that squad. Of the players named for the Australia series, Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi and Steyn were not named for the Ireland game.
The squad to play Ireland includes seven players of colour, of which three are black African.