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New Zealand vs South Africa: Morne Morkel Returns for Test Series

AFP |February 24, 2017, 10:35 PM IST
New Zealand vs South Africa: Morne Morkel Returns for Test Series

Johannesburg: Fast bowler Morne Morkel has been included in South Africa’s squad for three Test matches in New Zealand starting on March 8.

Morkel, 32, last played in an international match in June and since then has struggled with a persistent back injury which threatened to end his career.

He was part of South Africa’s Test tour of Australia in October and November last year but his injury flared up again after he played in two warm-up matches.

The tall fast bowler has undergone extensive rehabilitation and returned to action in a domestic one-day game last week.

"Morne Morkel has worked hard on his fitness over the past few months and we believe he is now 100 per cent fit and fully able to compete for his place in the team," said selection convener Linda Zondi.

Morkel, who achieved his Test-best figures of six for 23 in Wellington on South Africa’s previous Test tour of New Zealand in 2011/12, is one of six fast bowlers in the 16-man squad. Left-armer Keshav Maharaj is the only specialist spinner.

There are two uncapped players in batsman Theunis de Bruyn and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen.

De Bruyn was in the squad for a home series against Sri Lanka earlier in the season but did not play, while Klaasen, 25, replaces Dane Vilas as reserve wicketkeeper after Vilas signed a Kolpak contract to play county cricket in England.

Seven of the players are already in New Zealand for a one-day series. The other nine will depart on Saturday.

South African squad:

Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wkt), JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more
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