Fast bowler Dale Steyn was a notable omission from a 24-man South African squad announced in Johannesburg on Friday for two white-ball series against England, starting on November 27.
Steyn, 37, retired from Test cricket in August 2019 as South Africa’s all-time leading wicket-taker in the five-day format, but said he remained available for limited overs internationals.
He played in two Twenty20 internationals against England and one against Australia during the 2019/20 season and was expected to feature in the ICC T20 World Cup which was scheduled for Australia in October and November this year. The tournament was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Cricket South Africa statement announcing the squad made no reference to Steyn’s absence.
Steyn is a member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in the current Indian Premier League but played in only three of the team’s league fixtures, taking one wicket for 133 runs and conceding 11.40 runs an over.
The 24 players include most of South Africa’s current limited overs international players, with only one uncapped player, fast bowler Glenton Stuurman, in the squad.
New selection convener Victor Mpitsang said the squad had been selected for both forms of white-ball cricket against England -– three T20 internationals and three one-day internationals.
All the matches will be played in the Western Cape, in Cape Town and Paarl, and the South African team – like the England tourists – will be based in one hotel and will be confined to the hotel and the cricket grounds because of Covid. No spectators will be allowed at the matches.
"With the bio-secure environment, where movement in and out of the squad will be limited, we had to make sure that we have all our bases covered with the 24 players," said Mpitsang.
"It also gives the team the opportunity to play some inter-squad games just to make sure that they sharpen up those white-ball skills before the series start."
CSA director of cricket, Graeme Smith, said much work had gone into ensuring the return to international cricket of the South African team for the first time since the Covid outbreak.
"It's been a long winter and it's really pleasing that we finally have an imminent international tour on our shores to look forward to," said Smith.
"This is an important season for the team, with an ICC T20 World Cup coming up late next year in India.
"I'm sure that the T20 series in particular is going to boast some explosive performances for cricket fans to enjoy at home. An ODI series against the reigning world champions will always bring a level of excitement of its own."
South Africa squad
Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Faf du Plessis, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.