Six uncapped players named in South Africa Test squad to face England - GulfToday

Six uncapped players named in South Africa Test squad to face England


Cricketer Ben Stokes speaks after receiving The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award during a ceremony in Aberdeen on Sunday. Associated Press

South Africa on Monday named six uncapped players in a 17-man squad for the first two Tests against England, starting at Centurion on Dec.26. Five players who played in a recent 3-0 series defeat in India were dropped, while fast bowler Lungi Ngidi was not considered because of a hamstring injury.

The squad will assemble for a training camp on Wednesday, with three of the players to be released to play for South Africa A in a three-day match against England in Benoni, starting on Friday.

The uncapped players are opening batsman Pieter Malan, who may get his chance if Aiden Markram has not fully recovered from injury, top-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, fast bowlers Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks and wicketkeeper-batsman Rudi Second.

The squad is the first to be named by a selection panel which includes new coach Mark Boucher, assistant coach Enoch Nkwe, captain Faf du Plessis and independent selector Linda Zondi.

Despite the large number of uncapped players, there are no major surprises in a squad which includes the core of the players who have represented South Africa in recent times.

Three of the dropped players were spin bowlers -- Senuran Muthusamy, George Linde and Dane Piedt -- who went to India primarily because of conditions there.

Keshav Maharaj is the only spinner in the squad for the England Tests. There is no place for top-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn, who played in seven of South Africa’s most recent nine Tests, or wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen.

Markram has not played since suffering a broken bone in his hand when he punched a wall in frustration after being dismissed in the second Test against India in Pune in October and he may need to prove both his fitness and form if he is to partner Dean Elgar at the top of the batting order in Centurion.

Regular Test top-order batsman Temba Bavuma, Malan and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo will play for South Africa A against the tourists, while others, including Markram, are likely to be released to play for their franchises in four-day domestic matches, starting on Thursday.

Meanwhile, cricket World Cup winner Stokes ended a sensational 2019 by claiming the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year prize. He promptly thanked those who had helped him through a 2018 to forget.

Stokes’ performances in the World Cup final, which England won on an unprecedented boundary countback against New Zealand, and the third Ashes test helped him seal the public vote for the award, ahead of six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and world 200-meter champion Dina Asher-Smith at Sunday’s ceremony in Aberdeen.

In 2018 Stokes was cleared of affray charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September of the previous year.

“Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life. I’ve had so many people help me through that,” the 28-year-old Stokes said as he accepted the award on stage.

The award ceremony got off to a poignant start as former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir was presented with the Helen Rollason award. The 49-year-old Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2016, and he has spent the time since then working to raise awareness of the condition.


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