JOHANNESBURG : South Africa have recalled middle-order batsman Ryan Rickelton and the spin duo of Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj for the second and final test against the West Indies at The Wanderers on Wednesday.
Coach Shukri Conrad has revealed the starting XI and says he had no concerns over the form of newly-installed captain Temba Bavuma, who got a pair of ducks in the 87-run first test victory in Pretoria last week.
Rickelton, 26, was a surprise absentee from the first match given his excellent domestic form that has seen him score 365 runs in five innings at an average of 121.66. He takes over from Keegan Petersen at number five in the batting line-up.
“You want to be consistent with selections and reward performance, but you can only select 11 players,” Conrad told reporters on Tuesday. “Ryan is definitely one that will be a big part of the side going forward.
“Knowing the character he is, he is someone we can build our test side around. This is not a once-off opportunity, I think he is going to have a long test career.”
The Wanderers is usually a wicket for the seamers with pace and bounce, but in recent times has slowed down and that has prompted the home side to pick both Harmer and Maharaj in the place of Senuran Muthusamy and injured fast bowler Anrich Nortje.
There is also a recall for seaming all-rounder Wiaan Mulder on his home ground.
“In the last year the spinners have come into the game here,” Conrad said. “If the game goes to days four and five, our spinners will play a big part.
“It looks an abrasive surface, the one end will be more seamer friendly than the other. We feel the wicket will offer quite a bit for the spinners.”
Bavuma became only the fourth player in test history to get a pair on their captaincy debut after Mark Taylor (Australia), Rashid Latif (Pakistan) and Habibul Bashar (Bangladesh), but Conrad says there has been no discussion about it.
It places the batter under greater pressure after he was recently axed from the Twenty20 International squad because of his form.
“Batters get pairs. He got two good (balls), maybe one was a tactical error in how he lined up to the bowler. We have to move on, it doesn’t make him special or otherwise. There has been no special conversation around it,” Conrad added.
South Africa test XI to play West Indies: 1-Dean Elgar, 2-Aiden Markram, 3-Tony de Zorzi, 4-Temba Bavuma (captain), 5-Ryan Rickelton, 6-Heinrich Klaasen, 7-Wiaan Mulder, 8-Simon Harmer, 9-Keshav Maharaj, 10-Gerald Coetzee, 11-Kagiso Rabada.