South Africa have named uncapped Heinrich Klaasen and Wiaan Mulder in the 15-man squad for the first two Test matches against Australia that starts March 1. After an injury-plagued limited-overs series against India, the Proteas will see AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis returning to the squad.
Klaasen was included in the squad after his impressive batting performances against India in the ongoing T20 series and the recently concluded ODI series. South Africa have managed to beat India only twice in the last eight games and both needed Klaasen to step up. While he had also scored a match-winning 43 in the 4th ODI, it was his 69-run knock in the second T20I that helped SA to level the T20 series.
The wicketkeeper has also enjoyed a good outing at the domestic level where he scored 292 runs at an average of 48.66 for Titans in the first class matches this season.
“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," commented CSA National Selection Panel Convener Linda Zondi reported Cricbuzz
"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," he added.
All-rounder Mulder has scored 370 runs at an average of 61.66 and picked up 15 scalps during the 2017-18 first-class season. The 20-year-old also has a first-class century under his belt that he scored against Knights in October 2016. It was followed by his ODI debut last year against Bangladesh where he was included as a cover up for injured Wayne Parnell against Bangladesh.
"The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of all-rounders against the top quality opposition. He is a batting all-rounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI. He has been the top all-rounder in the Sunfoil Series with a batting average of 60 (one century) and 15 wickets at an average of 28," said Zondi.
However, the biggest boost for the Proteas would be the return of AB de Villiers, who has been out due to a finger injury
Fan favourite Dale Steyn, however, still remains injured from the first Test against India and hasn't been included in the first two matches. Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, and Duanne Olivier were also not included in the Test Squad.
Test squad: Faf du Plessis (c), 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
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