South Africa great Lance Klusener has joined the Lucknow Super Giants as an assistant coach and will work closely with head coach Justin Langer during the upcoming 2024 season of the Indian Premier League.
South Africa rested their ODI captain Temba Bavuma and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada from the white-ball leg against India, as the selectors wanted to keep them fresh for the two Test matches that follows the limited over games. Bavuma, who recently led the Proteas to the semifinals of the recently-concluded 50-over World Cup, remains the ODI skipper but in his absence T20I captain Aiden Markram will lead the side against India in the three one-dayers.
The selectors also named the likes of Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi for only the first two T20Is before the trio along with Rabada return to play a round of domestic first-class matches from December 14 to 17 to prepare for the Tests.
“We agreed that the Test side is the priority. We are prioritising readiness for the Test matches given its the start of the World Test Championship (WTC),” Shukri Conrad, South Africa’s Test coach said and his views were supported by his white-ball counterpart Rob Walter.
South Africa open their WTC campaign with the series against India and will then take a second-string side to New Zealand to play two Tests in February next year, when the majority of first-choice players will be involved in the SA20.
Pacer Anrich Nortje, who was ruled out of the World Cup with a lower back stress fracture, is unavailable across all formats. And so was wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton, who according to Conrad has fallen down the pecking order, despite being given a central contract earlier this year and playing in their last Test series. Similarly, Heinrich Klaasen was also left out of the Test squad, that will see the return of keeper Kyle Verreynne and seamer Lungi Ngidi.
Besides the experienced campaigners, the Test series will also see the likes of batters David Bedingham, Tristan Stubbs and left-arm seamer Nandre Burger.
In the white-ball squads, Reeza Hendricks is expected to get an extended run at the top of the order in both T20Is and ODIs, with Quinton de Kock out of the former to play in the Big Bash League and retired from the 50-over format. Matthew Breetzke will open the batting with Hendricks in the T20Is. Fast bowlers Burger and Ottniel Baartman are the only other uncapped players in the T20I group.
South Africa only have this three-match series against India before they leave for the World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA next year – where they will play the West Indies immediately before the tournament. India, on the other hand, will have another three T20Is against Afghanistan at home next month to shortlist their core group for the showpiece event in June, next year.
Given that the ODI series comes at the end of the World Cup cycle, the Proteas are keen on testing their youngsters against India, and have included uncapped bowling all-rounder Mihlali Mpongwana as the new face. The squad includes relatively lesser known players Wiaan Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams (albeit conditional on the progress of a groin injury), hoping to grab the opportunity as Rabada, Ngidi and Jansen are rested. Keshav Maharaj – who has been named in all three squads – and Tabraiz Shamsi form the spin attack.
However, the batting department for the ODIs boasts of a number of seasoned campaigners, led by Markram and includes the likes of Klaasen, Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller alongside young Tony de Zorzi. Dewald Brevis, who was the third highest run-scorer in the domestic one-day cup, however, failed to get a call-up.