Pieter Malan and Rudi Second were among the six uncapped players who were named in South Africa’s 17-man squad for the first two Tests against the visiting England side. While Malan and Second are uncapped at the international level, Dane Paterson, Rassie van der Dussen, Beuran Hendricks and Dwaine Pretorius, who are all yet to make their Test debuts, have played white-ball cricket for South Africa.

“The high number of uncapped players coming into the squad is a reflection of our policy to acknowledge players who do well at franchise level and have put their hands up for selection,” CSA independent selector Linda Zondi was quoted as saying by ICC.

“Van der Dussen, who is third on the current four-day batting averages, and Pretorius, who has established himself as the leading all-rounder, are clear examples of this.

“Following the same trend, Paterson has been the second leading wicket-taker in four-day cricket this season, including a seven-wicket haul in an innings, and we want to go into the Test series with a full arsenal of fast bowlers who have always provided one of our traditional strengths.

“Beuran Hendricks is also part of this strategy and adds variety to the attack as a left-arm swing bowler. Malan has been one of the most consistent run-scorers in franchise cricket for many seasons now and, as a specialist opening batsman, he provides cover for Markram, while Second provides cover in the wicketkeeping department and is a top-order batsman in his own right.”

Keshav Maharaj also returned to the squad after missing the third Test against India due to a shoulder injury while Aiden Markram, who had fractured his wrist after “lashing out at a solid object” during the India tour also made a comeback.

Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt were dropped from the side that had toured India, meaning Maharaj is the only specialist spinner in the squad. All-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo was also called back.

The selectors also named an 11-man A squad that will engage with the England side in a three-day tour match from December 20 to 22.

South Africa and England will meet in a four-match Test series, starting with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion. That will be followed by three ODIs and as many T20Is.

South Africa Test Squad: Faf du Plessis (C), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Pieter Malan, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen.

South Africa A Squad: Temba Bavuma, Nandre Burger, Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Pieter Malan, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Piedt, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon, Kyle Verreynne.