Christiaan Jonker, Junior Dala and Heinrich Klaasen are the brand new faces in South Africa’s T20I squad, which was named on Tuesday for the three-match series against India later this month.
With South Africa’s four-Test series against Australia starting in Durban on 1 March, some of the regulars have been given a break for the T20Is, where the home side will be led by JP Duminy in Faf du Plessis’s continued absence through injury.
“With the Sunfoil Test Series against Australia starting only five days after the completion of the T20 series, it is necessary for us to rest some of the players who have featured in virtually all our international matches so far this summer,” explained Linda Zondi, the Cricket South Africa National Selection Panel Convener.
“These include Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram among the batsmen as well as most of our frontline fast bowlers. AB de Villiers has missed quite a lot of cricket this summer so he will play in the T20 series.
“We have also decided to give Imran Tahir a break. He remains our first-choice spin bowler in both white-ball formats, but we need to give more game time to Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso. The next ICC World Twenty20 is not all that far away in 2020 so it is important that we develop and examine our resources for that tournament.”
Jonker, who Zondi called “one of the most explosive finishers in domestic T20 cricket in recent seasons”, is 31 and has played 77 T20 matches over the years scoring 1,616 runs at an average of 28.35 and a strike-rate of 131.16. The other man with no international experience, Dala, is a 28-year-old right-arm medium-pacer with Titans. In 49 T20 outings, he has picked up 42 wickets at an average of 26.95 and an economy rate of 8.13.
In what was only his second ODI appearance, Klaasen, the 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, created a big splash when he smashed an unbeaten 27-ball 43 against India in the fourth game to give South Africa their first win after three defeats in the series. The Titans man has played 46 T20s, so far, tallying 951 runs at an average of 36.57 and a strike-rate of 143.
Returning to the squad is Reeza Hendricks, the top-order batsman who last appeared for South Africa in early 2017 during the tour of England.
The three T20Is will be played in Johannesburg (18 February), Centurion (21 February) and Cape Town (24 February).
Squad: JP Duminy (c), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.