Fit-again du Plessis, Steyn named in South Africa’s full strength squad


CAPE TOWN: Dale Steyn, who was ill during South Africa’s Boxing Day Test, joins a formidable pack of fast bowlers in the squad picked to play India soon after the New Year. Allrounder Chris Morris has recovered from a groin injury to be part of the 15-member squad which will assemble in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Faf du Plessis, who could not play against Zimbabwe earlier this week due to a viral infection, will take back the captaincy from AB de Villiers. South Africa have chosen not to name a reserve wicketkeeper which suggests they believe Quinton de Kock should pull up well from his hamstring strain by the time the first ball is bowled on January 5.

Morris has not played international cricket since July, when he picked up a back injury during the tour of England. He came back to action earlier this month in the Ram Slam T20 tournament, but hurt his groin while playing the final. He took 4 for 13 as his franchise, the Titans, were crowned champions. Morris was left out of the squad for the inaugural four-day, day-night Test but was in the dressing room in Port Elizabeth when South Africa wrapped up victory inside two days.

Andile Pehlukwayo is the other allrounder in the side, which has been picked only for the first Test. Also included is left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took a five-wicket haul as recently as Wednesday. Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander round off South Africa’s battery of pace bowlers. Theunis de Bruyn, who was reserve batsman when South Africa faced Zimbabwe, retains his place. Fast bowler Duanne Olivier is the only man to miss out.