South African fast bowler Vernon Philander will return to the South Africa one-day squad for their upcoming matches against New Zealand and Australia as each side begins their preparations for next year’s World Cup.
Philander is the only incoming change that has been made to the squad that was triumphant in the triangular series with Zimbabwe and Australia in August and September.
The 29-year-old is returning from a hamstring injury that prevented him participating in the mini tournament in Zimbabwe.
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The South Africans will be hoping that the bad luck that is currently cursing them with injuries will desert them before the World Cup commences in February.
However, at present they have fitness concerns over bowlers Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell, whilst Ryan McLaren is just recovering from a broken arm.
The return of Philander will bring a sigh of relief for Dale Steyn, who retains the services of one of his most reliable back-up bowlers.
The all-rounder - who has taken 115 Test wickets at an average of 21 - has only played 15 One Day Internationals, and has never played against either Australia or New Zealand in 50-over cricket.
South Africa find themselves in Group B for next year’s World Cup, but haven’t been drawn against either host nation. Instead they will play a round-robin list of fixtures against: India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.
Philander will have a key role to play as the Proteas attempt to win their maiden World Cup.
World Cup squad
With the clock ticking down to the start of the tournament, these matches will help form the team that will line-up for their opening group match against Zimbabwe.
Places will be up for grabs with a lot of competition - particularly amongst the bowlers - in the squad.
Morkel, Parnell and Philander will all compete for a starting spot, whilst Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso will offer support with spin.
The main dilemma the side will encounter is to find a good balance between their batting and bowling departments. There is the fear of a tail that extends too long, which got them into trouble against Australia recently.
For all the brilliance of their upper order, they sometimes require support from the bowlers on the rare occasions that they do take a trip to the crease.
The upcoming ODIs, which begin against the Kiwis on October 21st, will allow the side to develop and form well before the World Cup begins.
South Africa ODI squad to face New Zealand and Australia: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.
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