Uncapped spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi were named in South Africa’s squad for next month’s three-match Test series in Australia on Monday as the Proteas seek to exploit a perceived weaknesses in their hosts’ batting.
Faf du Plessis will again captain the team in the absence of injured AB de Villiers after leading the side in the two-Test series against New Zealand last month, which they won 1-0.
“Basically, we are following a horses for courses policy as we feel that spinners who turn the ball away from the right-hander are going to be particularly useful under Australian conditions and against the Test batsmen we are likely to face,” selector Linda Zondi said in a statement.
“I am excited about the cover we have in this area with a wrist spinner and a left-arm orthodox spinner with JP Duminy able to offer the right-arm variety as well.”
Although Australia’s vulnerability to spin was exposed on their recent tour of Sri Lanka, pace bowling is likely to decide the opening Test in Perth, which is followed by matches in Hobart and a day-nighter in Adelaide.
Quick Morne Morkel returns to the squad after missing the New Zealand series through injury although his selection is subject to his successfully coming through a domestic competition match which starts in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Dean Elgar also returns from injury while another uncapped player, Rilee Rossouw, has been added as a specialist batsman. Dane Vilas will again travel as the second wicketkeeper behind Quinton de Kock after making his debut in Bangladesh last year.
South Africa and Australia conclude a fifth-match ODI series in Cape Town on Wednesday with South Africa leading 4-0.
Squad for Australia Test series:
Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Dane Vilas.