Johannesburg: Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was recalled to the Test side after a gap of nine months, as Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday announced their Test, One-Day International (T20I) and Twenty20 squads for the 72-day-long tour of India, starting on October 2.
Tahir last played in the longest format of the game against the West Indies at home on December 26, 2014, and was dropped thereafter because of poor form. He was also left out of South Africa’s Test squad for Bangladesh in July.
The Proteas will begin their tour with a T20 warm-up game on September 29 in New Delhi. It will be followed by three T20I, five ODIs and four Test matches. The visitors named three specialist spinners in their Test squad for the four-match Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series against India.
Along with Tahir, off-break bowler Dane Piedt is also back following his successful outing against India A. The duo joins the right-arm off-break bowler Simon Harmer in a three-pronged spin attack.
The 30-year-old Dane Vilas is expected to don the wicketkeeper’s gloves in Tests after the selectors decided to retain him at Quindon de Kock’s expense. Speaking on the spin department, CSA selection convener Linda Zondi said, “We want to keep all our options open for the Test Series.”
“We also have Jean Paul Duminy as an option in this department and I believe we have covered all our bases by having both holding and attacking spin options in our squad. It is good to have Dane back from his injury and Imran was our No.1 spinner for our last Test series on the sub-continent against Sri Lanka,” Zondi said.
In the one-dayers, young wicket keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock made a comeback after being dropped for the home series against New Zealand. De Kock’s solid performance for South Africa A, earned him his place back in the side.
For T20Is, uncapped 25-year-old all-rounder Khaya Zondo has been included in the Faf du Plessis-led side as the visitors will aim to test out different combinations ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 in India next year.
Zondo has come in for Rilee Rossouw, who has been ruled out of the T20 squad through injury but should return to full fitness in time for the ODI series.
“Imran is our No. 1 bowler in the T20 format and we need him to play every series between now and the ICC tournament while Eddie Leie will be our second spinner as we want to have another look at what he can do,” Zondi said.
Test squad: Hashim Amla (captain), AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas.
ODI squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.
T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese, Khaya Zondo.