Johannesburg: Jacques Rudolph was surprisingly recalled by South Africa on Tuesday when he was included in its preliminary squad for next year's World Cup.
Rudolph was picked in a group of 30 players announced by Cricket South Africa for the World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which begins on Feb. 19. The squad will be cut to 15 players for the one-day international tournament.
The 29-year-old left-handed batsman last played for the Proteas in 2006 before joining English county side Yorkshire. He returned to play for South Africa's Nashua Titans this season.
Allrounder Johan van der Wath, 32, was also selected after spells with Northamptonshire and Sussex in England.
CSA included four uncapped players: batsman Jonathan Vandiar, allrounders Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar and bowler Ethy Mbhalati. Morne van Wyk was recalled after the wicketkeeper-batsman led his Chevrolet Knights team to victory in the domestic 40-over competition last week.
"We indicated at the start of the season that we would reward players who performed well in domestic cricket," selection convener Andrew Hudson said. "There have been some highly impressive performances in the MTN40 and this has opened the door of opportunity for the likes of Faf du Plessis, Jonathan Vandiar, Ethy Mbhalati and Morne van Wyk."
Captain Graeme Smith, allrounder Jacques Kallis and batsmen Hashim Amla and A.B. de Villiers — ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in ODIs — were selected in the squad. Leading Test bowler Dale Steyn, newcomer Rusty Theron and experienced wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who was left out of recent squads to play Zimbabwe and Pakistan, were also selected.
However, Herschelle Gibbs was overlooked again after missing both the Zimbabwe and Pakistan series. Despite canceling his national contract, CSA has said Gibbs is still eligible for selection.
The 36-year-old opening batsman had hoped to play in a fourth World Cup before retiring, but that is highly unlikely even though South Africa's cricket body said on Tuesday that selectors didn't have to restrict their player choices to the 30-man squad.
South Africa has never won the World Cup and has often underperformed after entering tournaments as one of the favorites.
Squad: Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, A.B. de Villiers, Alviro Petersen, Loots Bosman, Jacques Rudolph, Morne van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, J.P. Duminy, David Miller, Colin Ingram, Albie Morkel, Robin Peterson, Mark Boucher, Thami Tsolekile, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Johan Botha, Ryan McLaren, Charl Langeveldt, Rusty Theron, Ethy Mbhalati, Roelof van der Merwe, Johannes van der Wath.