There was no room in South Africa’s squad for either Morne or Albie Morkel © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Dale Steyn will lead South Africa’s World T20 attack, subject to his regaining full fitness. Steyn sat out six of South Africa’s eight Tests this summer and broke down in the two that he played, first with a groin injury and then a shoulder niggle from which he is still recovering. He has not played any part in the ongoing ODI series against England and will not play the T20 series either, but should return for the T20 series against Australia in the build-up to the tournament.
The rest of the pace pack has a fresh look about it with Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott the frontline quicks and Morne Morkel, who has not been part of the T20 set-up since the series against New Zealand last August, missing out. Chris Morris and David Wiese provide the two seam-bowling all-round options. Albie Morkel, who was part of South Africa’s last T20 squad in India and was due to play in ODIs against England before he was injured, was also left out.
There are two specialist spinners in Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso, who was preferred over Eddie Leie, and seven batsmen including two wicket-keeping options in AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. De Villiers was tasked with opening the batting and keeping in South Africa’s most recent T20 matches against India even though de Kock was also in the squad. De Kock sat out those matches but, having regained form in recent weeks, is certain to be included in starting XIs at the World T20.
That may mean South Africa’s plan of using de Villiers in the top two and behind the stumps is scuppered and de Kock will assume that role with de Villiers moving down the order. An experienced middle-order made up of captain Faf du Plessis, de Villiers and JP Duminy will likely leave room for only one of Farhaan Behardien or Rilee Rossouw, with an allrounder to follow.
Albie Morkel was being primed for that role and took 3 for 12 on international return in Cuttack last October but has since suffered a back injury that has kept him out of the England ODIs. Morris, the IPL’s newest dollar millionaire, and Wiese will compete for a spot with Rabada, Steyn and Abbott forming the core of the attack. There may only be space for two of them at a time if South Africa play both Tahir and Phangiso, although they may also call on Duminy’s offspin as an additional slower bowling option.
Phangiso was not part of the squad that played T20s in India but he did play in the ODI series there, which South Africa won 3-2. He made headlines for his behaviour on the way home when he was prevented from boarding a flight from Dubai to Johannesburg because he had insulted airline personnel after overindulging in alcohol. News of Phangiso’s indiscretions only broke mid-January in the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport. CSA confirmed they had sanctioned Phangiso, although they did not make public what his punishment was, but said it did not involve leaving him out of national squads.
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo