South Africa have named a second-string T20I squad for the three-match series against Pakistan in mid-February. The Proteas' leading players will all return home following the two Tests in Pakistan to prepare for the home Test series against Australia.
The three T20Is against Pakistan will be played between February 11-14, while South Africa's home series, which still awaits an official confirmation, is expected to start at the beginning of March.
As a result, the Proteas' T20I squad will be led by Heinrich Klaasen for the first time. The 18-man team includes three uncapped players in Okuhle Cele (fast-bowler), Ryan Rickleton (wicket-keeper-batsman), and Jacques Snyman (batsman).
"We are excited to see what these youngsters will do" - South Africa's convenor of selectors
Victor Mpitsang, South Africa's convenor of selectors, is not too bothered about the inexperienced side, who will be up against Pakistan. With the T20 World Cup scheduled for later this year, he feels it is an ideal opportunity for some of the youngsters to make a mark and prove their potential.
"It's a big year for T20 international cricket, with the World Cup coming up and this is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to put their hands up and grab opportunities, however they may come. We are excited to see what these youngsters will do under what won't be the easiest of conditions, but more than that, we as a panel, are looking forward to seeing the more experienced players step up as leaders and take ownership of the team," Victor Mpitsang said.
Cricket South Africa are yet to finalize how the coaching and support staff will be managed for the two tours. Graeme Smith, South Africa's director of cricket, stated that these are the sort of measures the cricketing boards have to undertake in order to schedule more series in shorter time spans amidst COVID-19 fears.
"We're in the final stages of concluding plans for how the coaching and support staff will also be managed for the two tours. We will share those details when they have been finalized. It's an example of the measures that some cricket nations will have to put in place to ensure that they can squeeze more than one tour in a period of three or four months, while fulfilling Covid-19 protocol obligations," Smith said.
South Africa's T20I squad for Pakistan series: Heinrich Klaasen, Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman