Du Plessis missed the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe due to injury and AB De Villiers was handed the task of leading the side in the day-night match which the hosts won by a massive margin of an innings and 120 runs, inside two days.
All-rounder Chris Morris also returns to the squad after missing in action since picking up a back injury during South Africa's tour of England in July. Morris joins the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn to make a formidable pace attack.
There is stiff competition in the pace department and it remains to be seen who will b picked in the eleven alongside probable starters Rabada and Philander. Steyn, who is returning to action after a shoulder surgery that kept him out of the team for more than a year, has a good chance to play.
Morkel has increased the selectors' headache by taking a five-wicket haul against in his comeback game against Zimbabwe.
Quinton de Kock, who pulled a hamstring while batting on day one of the one-off Test, has been named as the sole wicketkeeper in the squad. De Villiers had kept wickets in his absence.
The lone specialist spinner in the squad is left-armer Keshav Maharaj, who took a fifer in the second innings against Zimbabwe.
Theunis de Bruyn, picked as a reserve batsman against Zimbabwe, retained his spot for the series-opener. De Villiers' welcome return to the five-day format has bolstered the batting. He had a decent outing against Zimbabwe, scoring a 65-ball 53.
India, who have never won a Test series in South Africa, arrived here last night after a long flight from Mumbai. The remaining two games of the three-match Test series will be played in Centurion(Jan 13-17) and Johannesburg (Jan 24-28).
Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn
((With PTI Inputs))
Andile PhehlukwayoChris Morrisdale steynFaf du PlessisHashim Amlakagiso rabadamorne morkelSouth Africa vs IndiaSouth Africa vs India 2018Vernon Philander
First Published: December 29, 2017, 5:19 PM IST