Since the past few days, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has looked to resolve its woes and have a completely new outlook to the team after a series of away losses. The recent change began with the appointment with former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher as the head coach of the team and appointment of former skipper Graeme Smith as the interim director of CSA. The board on Monday announced the squad for the first two Tests of the four-match series that will be hosting England beginning on December 26 at the Centurion. The squad features six uncapped players who will be eager to shine on home soil.
Australia's premier pacer, Lungi Ngidi will, however, miss the Test series owing to a ‘significant Grade 1 hamstring muscle tear’ which he sustained while warming up with his side Tshwane Spartans before the MSL playoff against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. The six uncapped players inducted into the squad include Dane Paterson, Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Beuran Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius and Rudi Second for the first two Tests. Ace batsman Faf du Plessis will continue to lead the Proteas side against England whereas number two on the ICC test rankings Kagiso Rabada will lead the pace attack.
Full squad: Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Q de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Pieter Malan, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, A Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen
Soon after assuming office, Mark Boucher hinted at some changes and steps to resolve the crisis of the sport in the country. Boucher assumed the position during a period where the South African team has witnessed a string of defeats in Test cricket including two home defeats against Sri Lanka and a series whitewash against India away. Ahead of the upcoming Test series against England, head coach Mark Boucher warned the England side, while addressing the reporters. Boucher said, "They (England) have been saying a lot of things in the media and I have a message for them: Beware a wounded buffalo, especially in Africa."