Aiden Markram, JP Duminy and Hashim Amla are back in the South Africa squad for the fourth and fifth one-day internationals against Sri Lanka.
South Africa have wrapped up the five-match series 3-0, but are continuing to test combinations with one eye on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
Markram has been in fine form in domestic cricket, following up back-to-back centuries with 85 off 43 balls in the One-Day Cup.
Duminy, who last played an international match in October, has recovered from a shoulder injury and proved his fitness in making two half-centuries on his comeback for Cape Cobras. Amla’s form has been patchy across formats, but selectors are convinced that experience will count in his favour even as the Proteas World Cup side takes shape.
“Experience is always a key factor in major tournaments such as the ICC Men’s World Cup,” said Linda Zondi, selection panel convener on Monday, 11 March. “We will use the final two matches in the ODI series to continue to examine all the options that are available to us as far as the World Cup squad is concerned.”
While hailing the returning members’ experience, captain Faf du Plessis also urged all the players tried out in the series to make their opportunities count.
“The main concern for me with all the players is that you need [to] make sure you put performances on the board to go to the World Cup. It’s about our best and most in-form team that’s going. Everyone in the dressing room knows that, and I believe it’s making us want to raise the bar on our own performance.”
Reeza Hendricks and Wiaan Mulder will sit out of the final two matches in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on 13 and 16 March, while Anrich Nortje continues to get more chances to prove himself.
With Nortje being tried out, Dale Steyn, who has been a part of the squad, might continue to sit out of the XI. Du Plessis dismissed concerns that it meant Steyn wouldn’t make it to the World Cup.
“Dale understands. Anrich needs to play some games. That is a position that still needs to be selected. As far as Dale is concerned, he’s going to the World Cup. So we need to make sure who is our next fast bowler, and if we want to take a next fast bowler,” du Plessis said.
SA squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.