South Africa have picked wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen and allrounder Wiaan Mulder in their Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia. Allrounders Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo, and pacer Duanne Olivier were the players to miss out on selection, despite being part of the squad for the Tests against India.
Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers and Temba Bavuma, all of whom missed all or part of the ODI and T20I series against India, thanks to the injuries, were named in the Test squad. However, Dale Steyn is still unavailable for the selection in Tests.
Klaasen traveled as South Africa’s back-up Test wicketkeeper on the tour to New Zealand last March but did not get a game to play. He’s scored 292 runs at 48.66 for Titans in the 2017-18 Sunfoil Series and played match-winning innings in the Johannesburg ODI and Centurion T20I against India.
Justifying Klaasen’s selection, CSA National Selection Panel convener Linda Zondi said, “Klaasen has been tremendously impressive in the white-ball matches he has played for the Proteas and we firmly believe he can become just as good a player in the five-day format. He has averaged nearly 50 with the bat in Sunfoil four-day cricket this season and hit two centuries. We are also keen to have a backup wicketkeeper to de Kock in the squad.”
Mulder was a non-playing member of the Test squad against Bangladesh at the start of the summer in late September. Ottis Gibson had been impressed with Mulder and classified him as a future prospect. He 61.66 for Lions in the 2017-18 Sunfoil Series – 370 runs in nine innings – and has played one ODI for South Africa, against Bangladesh in October last year.
Talking about Mulder, Zondi said, “The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of allrounders against top-quality opposition. He is a batting allrounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI. He has been the top allrounder in the Sunfoil Series with a batting average of 60 (one century) and 15 wickets at an average of 28.”
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.