What’s the story?
South Africa have announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy which will be played in the United Kingdom from June 1.
AB de Villiers will lead the team for the 8-team affair despite injuries hindering his participation in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is the solitary new face in the squad which has no place for veteran fast-bowler Dale Steyn. The omission of Steyn could well mean that the selectors have moved on from him especially in the white-ball format.
Morne Morkel is also making a comeback into the squad and will bolster the pace attack along with Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo.
Maharaj has been quite impressive with the red ball and his prowess with the bat edged him ahead of both Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso.
The squad will first take part in the three ODI’s against England and this will allow the team to acclimatise to the English conditions. The squad will depart for England on May 16 and will play in practice matches against Sussex and Northants.
One big message which has filtered out from the squad is the selectors do not consider Dale Steyn fit enough to be a part of their scheme of things for this crucial white ball tournament.
South Africa squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel
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Dale Steyn has been injured for quite a long time and in his absence, South Africa has forged together a potent fast bowling. Also, the racial quota system which has been put into place has forced the selectors to look ahead and leave Dale Steyn.
This selection is a continuation of the approach of the selectors who believe in consistency and for providing long ropes to players.
Dale Steyn is very much part of the plans for Test cricket as he been picked in the A squad to take on England.
Also, Steyn would know that with injuries derailing his career he has to pick and choose any one format and considering his potency with the red ball, he could well force on Test cricket.
This is a bold move by the South African selectors considering the fact that the Champions Trophy will be held in England where Steyn has a very good record, but then they have invested confidence in the younger players which is a great step.