Even as questions over his captaincy continue to pop up, AB de Villiers will lead South Africa’s T20 squad in three matches against England in the absence of Faf du Plessis, who will return home for the birth of his first child. De Villiers will then leave the UK, with du Plessis taking over for the Tests that begin in early July.
South Africa are resting five first-choice players, including du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, for the T20s, with Dwaine Pretorius the only new cap. Though South Africa have been using T20 matches to experiment and blood new players – as was the case against Sri Lanka when Farhaan Behardien led the side – they have combined youth and experience in this group.
Nine members of South Africa’s Champions Trophy squad will play in the T20s – de Villiers, David Miller, Behardien, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo and Pretorius – with the rest made up of players who were on the recent A-team trip to the UK, including Reeza Hendricks and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Several of the current squad also featured in the T20 series against Sri Lanka earlier in the year. Wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle, bowler Dane Paterson, and opening batsmen JJ Smuts made their international debuts in that series. Promising quick Lungi Ngidi, who also played against Sri Lanka, could not be considered because of injury. He was withdrawn from the A tour with a back problem. Of the T20 squad, Morkel, Morris and Parnell are the only ones likely to be part of the Test squad as well, which illustrates that South Africa are focused on rotating players as much as possible on a three-month tour.
SQUAD: AB de Villiers (c), Farhaan Behardien, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, JJ Smuts. (Courtesy The Nation)