AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn are all set for a test return probably during the series against India. The duo has been named in South Africa’s invitation XI that will take on Zimbabwe in the 4-day Day-Night fixture at Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day. They are eyeing a test comeback against India.
Both Steyn and de Villiers have been out of test cricket for a long time. Dale Steyn was sidelined after sustaining a shoulder injury against Australia at Perth last November. He underwent a shoulder surgery and a 6-month rehab. De Villiers last donned the whites in January 2016 when he got a pair. Since then he has shown reluctance to participate in test cricket because of injury and keeping in mind 2019 World Cup. He continued to remain an integral part of ODI and T20I setup. De Villiers officially stepped down as test skipper in August.
Temba Bavuma has also been included in the squad against Zimbabwe. He is considered to be one of the brightest talents to come from South Africa in recent times in test cricket. “Temba only got limited batting time during the Test series against Bangladesh because of the dominance of our top order and we feel he will benefit from spending more time in the middle,” Linda Zondi, South Africa’s convener of selectors said.
South Africa is hosting Zimbabwe in a 4-day D/N game at St.George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on December 26 to compensate for the loss of Boxing Day test match against India. Then a tour of India comprising of 3 tests, 6 ODIS and 3 T20Is has been penciled in. Thereafter, South Africa play 4 tests matches against Australia starting from March 1.
With the India and Australia series approaching, it is extremely essential for both Steyn and AB to get some good match practice.
South African Invitation squad: Dominic Hendricks (capt), Temba Bavuma, Tladi Bokako, Michael Cohen, AB de Villiers, Isaac Dikgale, Leus du Plooy, Zubayr Hamza, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rapulana, Kelly Smuts, Dale Steyn, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Shaun von Berg, Lizaad Williams
– by Atharva Apte