CAPE TOWN: The South African cricket selectors kept faith with their Test team but made major changes to their Twenty20 squad ahead of a forthcoming home series against New Zealand.
Announcing the squads in Cape Town, selection convener Andrew Hudson said the Test side earned their vote of confidence when they confirmed their ranking as the world's number one Test team by defeating Australia earlier this month.
The squad for two Tests against New Zealand, in Cape Town from January 2 and Port Elizabeth from January 11 includes the 11 players who won the final Test against Australia in Perth as well as batsman Jacques Rudolph and fast bowler Rory Kleinveldt.
There was no place for leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who took heavy punishment in the only match he played against Australia.
AB de Villiers will continue to keep wicket despite speculation that specialist Thami Tsolekile might be selected in order to enable De Villiers to concentrate on his batting.
“AB de Villiers has kept wicket exceptionally well since taking the gloves from Mark Boucher,” said Hudson, who added that Jacques Kallis was expected to be fully fit to bowl again after playing as a batsman only in Perth.
“Having two quality all-rounders among our top five batsmen has added a great deal to the side. Thami Tsolekile remains our back-up wicketkeeper should the need arise.”
De Villiers was selected in the Twenty20 squad for three matches against New Zealand, starting in Durban on December 21, but relinquished the captaincy to former schoolmate Faf du Plessis.
Hudson said De Villiers remained the first choice captain but that he would be one of the senior players who would be rotated during the series.
“We want to have one captain for the entire series,” said Hudson.
The 15-man squad shows six changes from that which failed to reach the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September.
There are four new caps in 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, batsman Henry Davids, fast bowler Chris Morris and left-arm spin bowler Aaron Phangiso.
South Africa on Thursday named their Test and Twenty20 squads to face New Zealand.
Test squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (wkt), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn.
Twenty20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers (wkt), Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
T20/Test schedule 1st T20: Durban, December 21 2nd T20: East London, December 23 3rd T20: Port Elizabeth, December 26 1st Test: Cape Town, January 2-6 2nd Test: Port Elizabeth, January 11-15