Spinner Harmer back in the South Africa squad for New Zealand Tests

Harmer, 32, last played for South Africa in 2015 before he took up a contract with Essex and proved a revelation on the county circuit as he captained the team to its 2019 T20 Blast win.

Simon Harmer

Simon Harmer playing for the Proteas in 2015.   -  Getty Images

South Africa has recalled experienced spinner Simon Harmer to its expanded 17-man squad for the two-Test tour of New Zealand starting in Christchurch on February 17.

Harmer, 32, last played for South Africa in 2015 before he took up a contract with Essex and proved a revelation on the county circuit as he captained the team to its 2019 T20 Blast win.

He is back in the Test squad after spinning all-rounder George Linde opted out of the Tour due to his upcoming wedding, and the uncapped Prenelan Subrayen was forced out due to a groin injury.

All five of Harmer’s Test appearances came in 2015 as he took 20 wickets at an average of 29.40 against West Indies, Bangladesh and India.

Also back in contention is seamer Lutho Sipamla but there is no place for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who has not sufficiently recovered from a hip injury.

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"The inclusions of Simon and Lutho reaffirm our intentions as a (selection) panel to reward excellence on the field and the pair have let their work speak on their behalf this past season," selection convenor Victor Mpitsang said in a media release from Cricket South Africa on Wednesday.

The squad is otherwise much the same as that which defeated India 2-1 in a home series earlier this month, with Dean Elgar the skipper and Temba Bavuma his deputy.

In a move to minimise COVID-19 risk, both fixtures, which will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship, will take place at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

South Africa squad:

Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.

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