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Tuesday Jan 19 2021

Pak vs SA: Heinrich Klaasen to lead South Africa in COVID-hit Pakistan T20 series

Batsman and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen. — Reuters/File

  • 18-man squad includes only four of 21 players currently in Pakistan for Test series
  • The three T20I matches will all be played in Lahore, on February 11, 13 and 14
  • SA officials say they did outside-of-the-box thinking to be prepared for home series against Australia

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Tuesday that batsman and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen will captain the side in next month's three-match Twenty20 international series in Pakistan.

The 18-man squad includes only four of the 21 players currently in Pakistan for two Test matches, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, left-arm spin bowlers Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde as well as fast bowler Lutho Sipamla.

The bulk of the Test squad will return to South Africa after the Pakistan Tests end on February 8 in order to undergo a COVID-19 quarantine period and to prepare for a planned home series against Australia.

Read more: Pacer Tabish Khan determined after finally being named in national squad

CSA director of cricket, Graeme Smith, said the selection reflected the difficulty of fulfilling obligations in times of the coronavirus.

"We have had to do a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking to ensure that we are fully prepared for a home Test tour against Australia, while having an exciting T20 series in Pakistan," he said.

Smith said plans for managing the coaching and support staff for the competing series were being finalised.

"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," said Smith.

Read more: Men In Green undergo another round of COVID-19 testing in Karachi

Batsmen Ryan Rickleton and Jacques Snyman and fast bowlers Okhule Cele and Nandre Burger have been called up to a national squad for the first time, while fast bowler Glenton Stuurman, who missed a recent Test series against Sri Lanka because of injury, gets another opportunity to win a first international cap.

A statement from CSA said travel plans would be announced later. The Test squad had to use a chartered flight after their commercial flights were cancelled a day before departure.

The three matches will all be played in Lahore, on February 11, 13 and 14.

Here's the squad: 

Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Jacques Snyman, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon.