Cape Town: South Africa have named uncapped middle-order batsman Zubayr Hamza and fast bowler Duanne Olivier in their squad for the three-test home series against Pakistan starting in Pretoria on Boxing Day.
Cape Town-born Hamza, 23, averages almost 50 in first class cricket but has had a modest domestic season to date with two fifties in nine innings and an average of a little over 31.
The right-hander, who bats at number three for his provincial Cape Cobras side, has been rewarded for his excellent form over the last 18 months though and his potential as a future regular in the team.
South Africa have also recalled Olivier as a replacement for the injured Lungi Ngidi, who will miss the entire Pakistan tour that also includes five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures.
The Proteas have retained experienced batsman Hashim Amla despite a poor run of form that has seen him top-score with 31 in his last nine test innings and continually fail in domestic cricket, with the selection of Hamza possibly much to do with Amla’s struggles.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn will hope to get the one wicket he needs to pass Shaun Pollock as the country’s highest test wicket-taker and has been in excellent bowling form in domestic cricket.
The second test will be played in Cape Town from Jan 3-7, with the series finale in Johannesburg from Jan 11-15.
South Africa Test squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn.