South Africa will wait on the fitness of Dale Steyn after naming the quick in their World T20 squad.
Steyn’s inclusion in the Proteas’ 15-man was expected, as he returns from the shoulder injury suffered in the Boxing Day Test against England, although he must still prove his fitness after a run of injuries.
The 32-year-old has missed the majority of the Proteas’ winter campaign but should get the chance to prove he is ready for the World T20 in the upcoming home Twenty20 internationals against England and Australia.
South Africa will draw from the same squad, captained by Faf du Plessis, for those two series beginning against England at Cape Town next Friday.
“Dale’s return is very good news,” Cricket South Africa selection convener Linda Zondi said.
“He brings tremendous experience and leadership to the team, not to mention his skills as the outstanding fast bowler of his generation.”
Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese return after missing South Africa’s 2-0 series win away to India last October while Aaron Phangiso is preferred to Eddie Leie as the second spinner behind Imran Tahir.
The Proteas have a good white-ball record in the sub-continent in recent times – they also beat Bangladesh 2-0 – and boast a string batting line-up that includes top-10 ranked duo Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers as well as in-form Quinton de Kock.
“We have a lot of experience in this group with 10 of the players having played in the last World Twenty20 in 2014, also on the sub-continent,” Zondi added.
“The inclusion of Aaron means that we have all our spin bowling options covered with he, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy offering the different varieties.
“Left-arm spin bowlers tend to play big roles under Indian conditions.”
South Africa’s opening match of the World T20 is scheduled to be against England in Mumbai on March 18 and with the upcoming series set to provide a precursor.
“We take some confidence from our T20 series wins against Bangladesh and India and kept relatively the same players who have had success on the sub-continent,” coach Russell Domingo said.
“We have been playing good T20 cricket of late and this is our opportunity to showcase our skills at a world event.
“The upcoming T20 series’ against England and Australia will be the ideal platform for us to fine-tune some combinations and to hopefully gain some winning confidence ahead of the tournament next month.
“We are in a tough group in the tournament with England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and a qualifier. All of the top six teams on the world rankings have the skill and ability to lift the trophy so it’s a completely open competition with high stakes.”
Du Plessis said his squad were determined to claim a first major global tournament for their country.
“The ICC World T20 is the competition that we have been working towards over the last 18 months,” he said.
“We have had disappointments in the past and this year is another great opportunity for us to lift that elusive ICC trophy.
“We have been playing together as a squad for some time now and are really hungry and motivated to put in the performances to bring us success.
“I’m really excited about the group of players who will be representing the country and hope we can make everyone proud.”
South Africa T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.