Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has been called up to the South African national ODI team for the first time since 2018 for the three-match series against Australia that will follow the ongoing T20I series between the two nations.
Faf du Plessis, however, has been overlooked yet again. The former skipper had been dropped from the ODI squad for the series against England, and continues to be “rested”. Rassie van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius have not been picked as well.
“With the completion of the 2019 Cricket World Cup and the next one being three years away from now, we always saw the series against England and Australia as an opportunity to play some fresh talent,” head coach Mark Boucher said. “If we feel that we need to rest players, we will, as we have done in the recent past.
“Faf (du Plessis) has been fantastic for us in white-ball cricket and remains very much in our ODI plans and we will manage his workload for the near future diligently. I would like to strengthen our depth pool right now and see what players we have out there. I feel that this is the time and opportunity to do so.”
Selector Luke Zondi added that Maharaj’s impressive white-ball form recently helped him make a comeback to the national team. “We are pleased to call up Keshav (Maharaj) who has done really well with the white ball over an extended period of time in the domestic franchise competitions of CSA. His experience, the extra spin option he provides us as well as the added contributions he makes with the bat and with fielding will be welcomed additions to the team,” he said.
“We are excited to see what will come from the selections we have made ahead of this latest series against Australia. It is again another young squad that sees the absence of some senior players in Faf, Rassie (van der Dussen) and Dwaine (Pretorius), while we balance the workloads of individuals ahead of an extremely busy year and a bit for the Proteas men. At the same time, it is a good opportunity to give younger and less experienced players an opportunity to show us what they’ve got to offer when the spotlight is fully on them. We have every confidence in their capabilities and potential, which is why we have backed them to take on the task of playing this formidable Australian side.”
The first ODI between the two sides will be played on February 29 at Paarl.
Squad: Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Temba Bavuma, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Beuran Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, Jon-Jon Smuts, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Verreynne