Johannesburg, Dec 7 (IANS) Young opening batsman Quinton de Kock's fine form with the bat prompted the South African selectors to ask regular opener Graeme Smith to return to Cape Town and focus on the two-match Test series against India.
The former skipper missed Thursday's ODI here at the Wanderers against India due to his grandmother's death. But his absence was not felt as De Kock struck a fine 135 in South Africa's massive 141-run win in the first ODI.
With two ODIs left, and South Africa sniffing a series win, the selectors decided to persist with De Kock and Hashim Alma in the second ODI slated for Sunday in Durban. The third ODI will be held at the Centurion on Wednesday.
"Smith has returned to Cape Town to focus on his Test match preparation ahead of the two-match Test series against India starting in Johannesburg on December 18," Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement.
The first Test will be played here from Dec 18 and the second Test will start from Dec 26 in Durban.
Smith will only be called back if a player is injured.
Smith has been going through a bad patch and has not scored a half-century in his last eight innings, all against Pakistan. His last century, 116, came in January's home series against New Zealand. Smith also had a poor 2012, scoring one hundred and two fifties in 10 innings in 2012.
Meanwhile, Vernon Philander will be available for the second ODI. He has recovered from a shoulder blade strain while spinner Imran Tahir remained doubtful for the match.