The allrounders Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris have been called up to a 15-member squad for the unofficial Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh next month. Johan Botha will lead the squad in the absence of AB de Villiers who is one of four players being rested, along with Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, all of whom featured extensively in the recently concluded IPL.
The inclusion of du Plessis, who has already played 21 ODIs for South Africa, was on expected lines after his stand-out performances for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He scored 398 runs at 33.16 from 12 innings – the second highest for CSK - with three fifties, and was briefly the holder of the orange cap for most runs scored in the competition. du Plessis eventually finished 13th on the IPL 5 run chart and was sidelined with the return of Australian batsman Michael Hussey from national duty.
"Du Plessis has been a stand-out performer for the Chennai Super Kings at the IPL and well deserves his T20 call-up. He has given us exciting, extra options by demonstrating his ability both at the top of the order and in the middle order," Cricket SA (CSA) selection convener Andrew Hudson said on Wednesday after naming the squad.
Morris was the leading wicket-taker in last season's domestic T20 Challenge, with 21 scalps at an average of 12.6, and was also effective as a lower-order hitter with a batting strike rate of 200. "Morris' selection continues our policy of creating international opportunities for those who perform outstandingly well at franchise level and this certainly applies in his case," said Hudson.
There were also recalls for Farhaan Behardien and Dane Vilas. "The four players concerned have turned out in virtually all their games for their franchises during the Indian Premier League," said Hudson. "In addition they are involved in all three international formats for the Proteas and this is the last chance to rest them until the end of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September and October.
SA Twenty20 squad: Johan Botha (captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Dane Vilas.