Steyn, De Villiers and Philander ready for Test returns
AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn could make their long-awaited returns to Test cricket next week after being named in South Africa's squad to face Zimbabwe.
The Proteas will meet their neighbours in a one-off clash in Port Elizabeth that will be contested over four days, rather than the traditional five.
South Africa confirmed their 14-man squad for the day-night clash on Tuesday, with De Villiers and Steyn both included – along with seamer Vernon Philander.
De Villiers has not featured in the longest format since January 2016 after a self-imposed break from Tests, while Steyn has been sidelined with a shoulder problem since leaving the field against Australia in Perth just over a year ago.
Philander's return to the bowling attack comes after missing the recent series with Bangladesh with a back injury.
Here's your #ProteaFire Test squad: Faf du plessis, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada & Dale Steyn. #SAvZIM pic.twitter.com/jIPfuUpuwm— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) December 19, 2017
All three could return next Tuesday, but De Villiers is still a doubt due to a lower back strain, the 33-year-old having been withdrawn from the three-day tour match.
"AB de Villiers is struggling with lower back stiffness and has been withdrawn from the three-day warm-up match as a precaution," said team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.
"He is, however, available for selection for the Test match against Zimbabwe."
There will be no return for Chris Morris, though, after he was omitted with a groin strain, but captain Faf du Plessis is fit to lead the side after concerns about his back.
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn.