South Africa vs India: Duanne Olivier returns to Test fold
Pacer Sisanda Magala and wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Rickelton were the new faces in South Africa’s 21-member squad announced on Tuesday for the three-Test series against India beginning December 26.
Pacer Duanne Olivier, who last played a Test in 2019, is also back in the side to be led by Dean Elgar. The seasoned pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje too returned after being rested in the ODIs against the Netherlands. Glenton Stuurman and Prenelan Subrayen have also made their way back into the team.
The first Test has been pushed back a week, to Boxing Day, in the wake of a new Covid-19 variant detected in southern Africa. The development threatened the whole series but both BCCI and Cricket South Africa worked together to ensure it goes ahead.
CSA convenor of selectors, Victor Mpitsang, said: “This format is very important to CSA and keeping it relevant and alive is one of the organisation’s priorities. “We are really looking forward to the return of Dean Elgar and his men, it’s been a long few months since the last time we saw them dominate in the West Indies. We are confident about the team that we have selected and believe fully in backing the talent that we have unearthed and cultivated over the last couple of seasons.”
The three-match rubber is part of the World Test Championship and India will be aiming to secure their maiden series win in South Africa.
This will be South Africa’s first series in the 2021-2023 cycle of the World Test Championship. They had finished fifth in the inaugural edition of the Championship winning two series and losing three.
The first Test will be held in Centurion, the second in Johannesburg from January 3 and the third in Cape Town from January 11.
As is usually the case, the pitches are expected to favour quicks in Centurion and Johannesburg, while Cape Town may have something for the spinners as well.
The Proteas have Keshav Maharaj as their lead spinner, with all-rounders George Linde and Subrayen playing supporting roles.
The last time India toured South Africa, in 2017-18, they lost the Test series 1-2. Three ODIs will be held after the Tests and four T20Is, which were part of the original schedule, will be held later.
The revised series schedule was announced on Monday.
South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Kagiso Rabada, Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Duanne Olivier