South Africa have selected a much-changed squad for their three-match Twenty20 series in Pakistan to allow members of the Test side to prepare for a home series against Australia that is scheduled to start in April.
The T20 matches will be played from February 11-14 in Lahore and will feature very few of South Africa’s leading players in the format, with the likes of Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje all returning home after the two-match Test series.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Tuesday that batsman and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen will captain the side in next month’s three-match Twenty20 international series in Pakistan.
Uncapped seamer Okuhle Cele, wicketkeeper Ryan Rickleton and batsman Jacques Snyman are also included in the T20 squad.
The 18-man squad includes only four of the 21 players currently in Pakistan for two Test matches, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, left-arm spin bowlers Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde as well as fast bowler Lutho Sipamla.
Batsmen Ryan Rickleton and Jacques Snyman and fast bowlers Okhule Cele and Nandre Burger have been called up to a national squad for the first time, while fast bowler Glenton Stuurman, who missed a recent Test series against Sri Lanka because of injury, gets another opportunity to win a first international cap.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled sporting bodies to find innovative ways of ensuring tours and sporting events take place as planned or with as little disruption to revised plans as possible,” South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith said in a media release on Tuesday.
“We are not exempt from that, and have had to do a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking to ensure that we are fully prepared for a home test tour against Australia, while having an exciting T20 series to complete in Pakistan.”
Smith said plans for managing the coaching and support staff for the competing series were being finalised.
“It’s an example of the measures that some cricket nations will have to put in place to ensure that they can squeeze more than one tour in a period of three or four months, while fulfilling Covid-19 protocol obligations,” said Smith.
A statement from CSA said travel plans would be announced later. The Test squad had to use a chartered flight after their commercial flights were cancelled a day before departure.
South Africa Squad:
Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman
11 Feb – 1st T20I, Lahore
13 Feb – 2nd T20I, Lahore
14 Feb – 3rd T20I, Lahore