March 18, 2018 5:06:52 pm
South Africa have added seamer Duanne Olivier and bowling all-rounder Chris Morris to their squad for the final two Tests against Australia, but appear to have closed the door on a return for paceman Dale Steyn. Olivier, Morris, uncapped Wiaan Mulder and Morne Morkel will all be considered to replace suspended fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who has been named, for the third Test starting at Newlands on Thursday.
Rabada, the number one ranked Test bowler, could still play if he succeeds in his appeal against an International Cricket Council (ICC) decision to award him three demerit points for his reaction to dismissing Steve Smith in the second Test. His brushing of the Australian captain’s shoulder took him past eight points, triggering an automatic two-match suspension that would mean he missed the final two contests of a series currently level at 1-1.
South Africa are likely to look at the Newlands pitch before deciding what type of bowler will be best suited, and have also left their options open for the fourth match in Johannesburg. Rabada’s appeal will be heard on Monday, where he will be represented by renowned advocate Dali Mpofu in the hope of having the demerit points from the Port Elizabeth win rescinded.
Should he be successful, he will be free to feature in the final two games and add to the 15 wickets he has picked up in the series to date. Steyn had targeted a return in Johannesburg, but his recovery from a heel problem is not going smoothly, having already abandoned one comeback attempt in a domestic four-day game.
“Circumstances have forced us to name a large squad at this stage so that we can cover all possible options,” Cricket South Africa national selection panel convener Linda Zondi said in a media statement on Sunday. “We have retained the 15 players who produced an excellent performance to level the (second) Test in Port Elizabeth.
“Olivier was the pick of our bowlers for South Africa A in their tour match against Australia while Morris has been in excellent form in domestic cricket, taking four wickets in an innings and making more than 150 runs, including a century, for the Titans in the (domestic four-day) Sunfoil Series.”
Squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
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