- Sarel Erwee, Glenton Stuurman and Kyle Verreynne are the three newcomers to the Proteas Test squad.
- Former SA under-19s captain, Wiaan Mulder, also makes a return to the national team after a lengthy injury layoff.
- The Proteas will play two Tests against Sri Lanka over the Boxing Day and the New Year's windows.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has named the Proteas Test squad to take on Sri Lanka in the two-match series to be played over the traditional Boxing Day and the New Year's windows.
This follows Friday's announcement that Quinton de Kock will captain the Test team in the 2020/21 season.
There are three newcomers in the Proteas Test squad in the form of Sarel Erwee, Glenton Stuurman and Kyle Verreynne.
Former South Africa under-19s captain, Wiaan Mulder, also makes a return to the national team after a lengthy injury layoff.
Thirty-one-year-old Erwee has enjoyed a long period of consistently good performances which have culminated into his call-up for this tour, not least of which was his 199 in the Dolphins' CSA 4-Day Domestic Series season-opener against the Lions last month. He averages 60 28 with 469 runs in eight innings so far in the competition.
Stuurman will make an exciting addition to the Proteas' bowling attack. The 28-year-old, right-arm medium-pacer from Oudtshoorn boasts an impressive 4-Day Series record of 181 wickets from 46 matches at a bowling average of 21.28 for the Warriors. His best bowling figures of 7/12 are capped off by a high score of 81 from his overall 671 runs, making him a player to look out for in this format.
The last season has been an impressive one for 23-year-old Verreynne in the 4-Day Domestic Series. He amassed 551 runs in 11 innings, at an average of 55.10, including two centuries and three half-centuries for the Cape Cobras. Before joining the national team for the limited overs tour against England, he had deposited 247 runs in two matches, at an average of 61.75 to his competition account.
The Proteas will be confident with the batting depth at their disposal.
Aiden Markram, who had his Test summer cut short by a fractured finger last season, has been outstanding for the Titans in the first few rounds of this season's 4-Day Series, smashing three centuries and returning a total of 469 runs in four matches, at an average of 78.16.
Keegan Petersen, who was part of the Test squad during England's visit last season, has a century and half-century under his own belt for the Dolphins, averaging 57,66 in the competition, while Mulder brings much-need all-rounder capabilities into the fold with a fresh, unbeaten century from last week to his tally for the Lions, also enjoying an above-50 average (59,25).
Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius are not yet fit enough for the physical exertions of Test cricket as a result of injuries picked up during the England tour. They and one or two other players being considered by the selectors will go through assessments in the next few days to see whether they will be fit enough to be added to the squad ahead of the second match.
An update will be provided next week, CSA said.
Lungi Ngidi will therefore lead the pace attack with Anrich Nortje and Beuran Hendricks, who both impressed last summer against England. Ngidi missed out on Test cricket last season because of injury.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka series will form part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
The visitors made history in February 2019 when they became the first Asian team to win a Test series in South Africa after emphatically beating the hosts 2-0. They are currently in fifth place on WTC the points table with 27 matches played and South Africa are sixth with 23 matches played.
"It goes without saying that we are very excited about the choices we have made for the Test squad,” Victor Mpitsang, CSA's convenor of selectors, said in a press statement. "The individuals in the team are a testament to the fact that hard work will bring its rewards and the Selection Panel, and I are eager to see what the new call-ups have to offer.
"While we may be on the 'young' side in terms of Test cricket experience, we believe that the team will more than make up for it when put to the test, so to speak. South Africa is fortunate to boast a lot of depth thanks to our cricket pipeline, and places for every spot in our national teams are highly contested. It has not been an easy task to bring it down to this final squad of 15.
"This series is particularly important for our ICC World Test Championship campaign and the crucial points that it comes with.
"We are looking forward to what promises to be a competitive series and getting a good look at the players that we have in hand. Our last home Test encounter against Sri Lanka did not end in our favour and we are keen to see an emergence of the potential we know this team holds.
"Test cricket is a career pinnacle for every player and is the culmination of many years of hard work and graft, so we know we will not have a shortage of dedication from the players who will don the green cap. I wish Mark Boucher, Quinton de Kock, the team and its support staff all the best for this important tour," Mpitsang concluded.
Proteas Test squad:
Quinton de Kock (captain, Titans), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Aiden Markram (Titans), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Sarel Erwee (Dolphins), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras).
Test series v Sri Lanka:
26-30 December 2020 at 10:00
1st Test match (WTC) South Africa v Sri Lanka, SuperSport Park, Centurion
3-7 January 2021 at 10:00
2nd Test match (WTC) South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
- Compiled by Sport24 staff