AB de Villiers will finally return to Test cricket after 23 months when he steps on the field against Zimbabwe in the historic four-day contest.
He, along with Steyn, had mad a comeback to the Test side last week. While De Villiers’ inclusion got confirmed for the Test, Steyn will have a tough competition to move ahead of other pacers on the side to make a place for himself.
De Villiers, whose participation is confirmed, though has specific issues to deal with ahead of his comeback Test. His back problem has come up again which saw him missing practice game against Zimbabwe, but the 33-year old feels it not a big problem for him,
“It’s not really a big problem. It’s a little niggle, something I have had for the last eight or nine years and something I have to manage my workload. I had a few intense games in the last few months and I started feeling it again towards the end of the Ram Slam finals. There’s nothing you can do. It’s a little tweak. I was honest with the convener and a few guys and asked them for a few days off. The doctor also treated me and suggested I take a few days off. It’s simple as that. I needed a bit of rest and I feel fit and ready to go again,” he said.
The former Test captain saw his Test career getting shortened by the elbow injury he suffered. It saw him getting ruled out of New Zealand and Australia series and later, he stepped down from his post as well. He went on to miss series against Sri Lanka and England too.
At one stage, it looked like he might be forced into Test retirement, but he resisted from taking a call on his Test future. Instead, he resigned as the captain of ODI squad to keep aside the limelight as a captain. Faf du Plessis is currently leading South Africa in all the formats.
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While both, De Villiers and Steyn, have proved fitness in domestic cricket, they have not showcased talent in first-class games. AB de Villiers had played just one first-class match in past two years while Steyn’s only appearance came in the practice game against Zimbabwe. He went wicketless in the contest but impressed on his return.
Their comebacks have provided skipper Plessis with options to choose from, but it has also created a problem of plenty.
The inaugural four-day Test match will be the first ever four-day game in the history of cricket at the top level. The contest will be played at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth from December 26 to 29.
Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn.
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