SA Test squad vs Australia: Klaasen, Mulder earn call-ups

A 15-man squad has been announced for the first two Tests.

AB de Villiers is back in the squad after missing a large chunk of the limited-overs series against India with two separate injuries.   -  Getty Images

South African selectors have named a really strong squad for the first two Tests against Australia.

Dale Steyn, who suffered a left heel injury in the first Test against India, remains out, but Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, and Quinton de Kock, all of whom were also injured at some point during the India tour, have returned to give the squad a formidable look.

All-rounder Willem Mulder and wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who impressed with his batting during the limited-overs series against India, are the two new faces in the squad.

The pace bowling quartet of Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi is the same from the Test series against India, while Keshav Maharaj is the sole specialist spinner in the 15-man line-up.

Cricket South Africa national selection panel convener Linda Zondi said: "Klaasen has been tremendously impressive in the white-ball matches he has played for the Proteas and we firmly believe he can become just as good a player in the five-day format,

"He has averaged nearly 50 with the bat in four-day cricket this season and hit two centuries. We are also keen to have a back-up wicketkeeper to De Kock in the squad.

"The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of all-rounders against top-quality opposition. He is a batting all-rounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI. He has been the top all-rounder [this season] with a batting average of 60 and 15 wickets at an average of 28."

The four-Test series between these teams gets underway on March 1 at Kingsmead in Durban, with St. George's Park (Port Elizabeth), Newlands (Cape Town), and Wanderers Stadium (Johannesburg) hosting the subsequent Test matches.

South Africa Test squad vs Australia: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, and Willem Mulder