After suffering a humiliating whitewash in a three-match Test series in India last year, South Africa would be back in this country for a three-match ODI series. The team that will face the hosts in that series has been announced. The big news is the return of Faf du Plessis to the team after having time-off following a drubbing at the hands of England on home turf in a Test series.
As expected, he is not captaining the team. That job remains with wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock who led the side for the first time in the ODI series against England that followed the Test matches. Currently, de Kock is captaining his team in the ongoing ODI series against Australia.
Also back in the squad is the highly talented and capable batsman Rassie van der Dussen. He is very much a part of the ODI side but had been given a much-deserved rest for the ongoing 50-over matches against Australia.
One key player who won't come to India is the chinaman spinner Tabraiz Shamsie. He is unavailable since he and his wife are expecting their first child to be born in near future. With Imran Tahir no longer playing international cricket, Shamsie becomes the main wrist spinner for South Africa in limited-overs cricket. With him not there, Keshav Maharaj will have to carry the burden, most likely, by himself.
However, the selectors have provided some competition for Maharaj by including a new name – George Linde – in the team. He too is a left-arm spinner and is probably picked due to doubts about Maharaj's ability against Indian batsman. In the Test series last year, Keshav had endured a miserable time on helpful wickets.
Kagiso Rabada, who is nursing an injury, had been ruled out of the India tour beforehand. In his absence, the bowling attack would be led by Lungi Ngidi and he would have the support of express pace bowler Anrich Nortje. Beuran Hendricks and Andile Phehlukwayo are also there, as is the new name in the pace battery – Lutho Sipamla.
New players like Jon-Jon Smuts and Kyle Verreynne, who have been brought into the side recently, have been retained. Heinrich Klaasen, who scored a hundred in South Africa's last match, is likely to continue featuring in the Proteas team. He also has good memories of India as it was his crucial knock that gave his team their only victory in a series played between the two sides in early 2018.
South Africa had won their last series in India, in 2015. However, at that time, they had players like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, and Kagiso Rabada in their team. The leading star of that victory was AB de Villiers who is retired from international cricket. Safe to say, repeating that feat won't be easy for this young and new-look Proteas side.
South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock (C, WK), Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, George Linde