JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced late on Tuesday wicket-keeper/batsman Heinrich Klaasen will captain the side in next month’s three-match Twenty20 Inter­national series in Pakistan.

The 18-man squad includes only four of the 21 players currently in Pakistan for two Test matches, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, left-arm spin bowlers Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde as well as fast bowler Lutho Sipamla.

The T20 matches will be played from Feb 11 to 14 in Lahore and will feature very few of South Africas leading players in the format, with the likes of Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje all returning home after the two-match Test series in order to undergo a Covid-19 quarantine period and to prepare for a planned home series against Australia.

CSA director of cricket, Graeme Smith, said the selection reflected the difficulty of fulfilling obligations in times of the coronavirus.

“We have had to do a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking to ensure that we are fully prepared for a home Test tour against Australia, while having an exciting T20 series in Pakistan,” he said.

Smith said plans for managing the coaching and support staff for the competing series were being finalised.

“It’s an example of the measures that some cricket nations will have to put in place to ensure that they can squeeze more than one tour in a period of three or four months, while fulfilling Covid-19 protocol obligations,” said Smith.

Batsmen Ryan Rickleton and Jacques Snyman and fast bowlers Okhule Cele and Nandre Burger have been called up to a national squad for the first time, while fast bowler Glenton Stuurman, who missed a recent Test series against Sri Lanka because of injury, gets another opportunity to win a first international cap.

The three matches will all be played in Lahore, on Feb 11, 13 and 14.

Squad: Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Jacques Snyman, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021

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