Rossouw, who has played 26 One-Day Internationals and 10 T20 internationals for the Proteas previously, is the only uncapped player in the 13-man squad announced by the national selectors for the first two Tests on Thursday. The first Test will start on Boxing Day at Kingsmead in Durban before the series moves to Cape Town for the marquee Test of the summer over New Year at Newlands.
The powerful left-hander is currently on the comeback trail of missing the entire limited-overs leg of the India tour with a stress fracture to his foot he sustained against New Zealand. He has, though, played a couple of T20 matches for the Knights to ascertain his fitness.
Rossouw’s inclusion is due to the fact that the selectors have dropped Dane Vilas after the Cape Cobras wicket-keeper struggled to adapt to the tough Indian conditions both behind and in front of the stumps. They have resisted the temptation to recall young Quinton de Kock and instead chosen vice-captain AB de Villiers as the specialist gloveman in the squad.
“One of the issues that concerned us during the tour to India,” commented CSA selection convener, Linda Zondi, “was the lack of depth to our batting, particularly in the lower order and the change in AB’s role means that we can now have a specialist batsman at No. 7.
“We now feel that the side has a much better balance about it without in any way reducing the tactical options available to our captain, Hashim Amla.”
Vernon Philander has also not been included as he recovers from an ankle injury sustained ahead of the second Test against India in Nagpur, while there is also only place for one specialist spinner Dane Piedt in the squad. Despite being the leading wicket-taker in the India series Imran Tahir drops out along with Simon Harmer.
“The return to South African conditions made it inevitable that we would only choose one specialist spinner with JP Duminy and Elgar both available as back-up and Dane (Piedt) is the man in possession,” Zondi said.
“Our batting line-up has served us well in the past in matches under our own conditions and I am confident they will be ready for the challenge in what is going to be a very tough series in which experience will play a vital role.”
De Kock and Vilas will both play for the SA “A” side against the English tourists next weekend.
Proteas Test squad: Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, capt), AB de Villiers (Titans, vice-capt), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Morne Morkel (Titans), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras).
South Africa A squad: Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Knights), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Omphile Ramela (Cape Cobras), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras, capt, wk), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Chris Morris (Titans), Marchant de Lange (Tiitans).The Proteas have called up the uncapped Knights batsman Rilee Rossouw to the Test squad for the upcoming England series.
Original source: Rilee named in Proteas Test squad