Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the second Test against England in Cape Town due to the shoulder injury he suffered in Durban. He will be replaced by Kagiso Rabada while it is also expected that Quinton de Kock will play and take the gloves off AB de Villiers.
Hashim Amla said the decision is still to be made but that if de Kock plays he will keep wicket and bat at No.7, which indicates JP Duminy or Temba Bavuma rather than Faf du Plessis will be dropped.
“We still have have to make a call on whose position he will end up taking,” Amla said. “He is giving us the option of taking a load off AB. He will obviously stay at 4. It’s not 100% confirmed as yet. Quinny has been in very good form with the bat. He got a hundred in the first-class game he played. If he gets a go, then at least there’s somebody who has been playing well and will ease the keeping duties for us.”
The signs were positive that Kyle Abbott would be available after coming through a fitness test on his hamstring although a final decision will not be made until shortly before the toss. Chris Morris and Hardus Viljoen are the other fast bowlers in the squad should South Africa need a replacement for Abbott. “He has to be 100% symptom free before he can be made available for selection,” a CSA spokesman said.
Meanwhile, South Africa have brought in the services of former captain Graeme Smith, who has joined them for the rest of the series as a batting consultant although there was some uncertainty over how official the agreement was alongside his media roles. Smith was critical of South Africa’s performance in the Boxing Day Test – and particularly the decision to make de Villiers wicketkeeper – and said they needed strong leadership as they try to mount a comeback although Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, tried to deflect the criticism after the Durban Test.
“Russell has always been a big advocate of getting somebody in to be a sounding board for the batters,” Amla said. “To get Graeme on board now, Graeme being the quality cricketer that he is, fits the role perfectly. Graeme has got a good know-how about Test cricket and that’s what Test cricket is about. It’s about know-how, having a feel for the game and we’ve got a lot of youngsters that can draw on that.”
Smith is also commentating for Test Match Special and SuperSport and will be playing in the Masters Champions League this year. Last month he said he was contemplating whether to make an international comeback having retired at the age of 33, ESPNCricinfo reports.