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Nortje and du Plessis

Rabada, du Plessis and Nortje return for Australia T20Is

South Africa news

Fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, and former national team captain Faf du Plessis return to South Africa’s T20I squad for their three-match series against Australia later this month.

Reeza Hendricks, Beuran Hendricks and Sisanda Magala made way for the trio’s inclusion in the 16-man squad, announced on Monday, 17 February.

Rabada, Nortje and du Plessis were all part of the Test squad that lost to England 1-3 in South Africa’s recent series against England, before subsequently being rested for the limited-overs leg.

Batsman Temba Bavuma, who had picked up a right hamstring injury during the final T20I against England and left the field, has been named on an provisional basis. He will undergo scans before a final call is taken on his availability for the series.

The squad announcement comes on the same day when du Plessis relinquished the T20 and Test captaincy. Quinton de Kock, who led in du Plessis’ absence in the T20Is against England, will resume his leadership role in this series. De Kock had already been named one-day captain before the England series.

Linda Zondi, the former convenor of selectors, who still functions in the same role, albeit in an independent capacity, was happy with the team assembled. “As a selection panel, we are happy with the team that we have finalised for the Australia tour,” he said. “We are confident that the return of Kagiso and Anrich will provide the boost that the bowling unit needs in order to return to its dangerous ways, and that the experience of Faf will add an extra dimension to the batting unit’s already fledgling prowess.”

South Africa had a tough time during England’s visit, conceding the Test series 1-3 despite winning the first Test, while the ODIs ended in a stalemate, with one game being washed out due to rain, and the T20Is once again went in the visitors’ favour.

We are confident that the return of Kagiso and Anrich will provide the boost that the bowling unit needs in order to return to its dangerous ways, and that the experience of Faf will add an extra dimension to the batting unit’s already fledgling prowess

Linda Zondi

South Africa gave a much better account of themselves in the last of those assignments, however, pushing England to the limit before going down. After the hosts won the first game by one run, England scraped through with a two-run victory in the second before bossing a 223-run chase in the third to clinch the series.

Despite the defeat, Zondi was pleased with the overall gains from the series. “The T20 series may not have been won, but it was really pleasing to see our batting unit play so well,” he said. “They showed a lot of aggression, particularly upfront, in every match, which set a good foundation for the rest of the line-up. The very exciting bursts of cricket that we were served up bode very well for the future, especially in the short term, as we begin our hunt in earnest for the T20 World Cup squad.”

Squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius , Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Anrich Nortje, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

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