Thirty-two-year-old Simon Harmer will return to the Proteas Test set-up for the outbound tour to New Zealand. The last time the right-hand, off-spinner appeared for the national team was against India in November 2015.
He is joined by Lutho Sipamla in the squad of 17 that departs for the two-match series on 2 February.
In a move to minimise COVID-19 risk, both fixtures, which will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship, will now take place at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
Harmer returns due to the imminent nuptial of George Linde, who is not available to take part in the tour. Prenelan Subrayen is also not available for selection, due to a groin injury, he is making good progress in his rehabilitation.
Harmer made a big splash by taking seven wickets on Test debut against the West Indies in January 2015 in Cape Town, and went on to play four more matches, returning 20 wickets in total in eight innings, at an average of 29.40.
Representing the Titans this season, he holds second place in the Cricket South Africa (CSA) 4-Day Domestic Series’ top wicket takers log, behind the Imperial Lions’ Duanne Olivier (28 wickets), with 27 wickets in eight innings, at an average of 21.40.
Olivier’s Lions teammate, Sipamla, has been making his own 4-Day Domestic Series waves this season, returning 16 wickets in six innings, included best match bowling figures of 7/39 at an average of 16.56 and economy of 3.73. The 23-year-old made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2020 and has two Test matches under his belt with 10 wickets to his name.
The remainder of the Dean Elgar-led squad holds no surprises and will see the welcome return of Kagiso Rabada, who was rested for the recently concluded and successful, One-Day International (ODI) series against India.
CSA Convenor of Selectors, Victor Mpitsang said:
“The National Selection Panel and I are pleased to see the Test team playing more cricket and we are looking forward to watching them perform in what we hope will be another scintillating series, this time, against the ICC World Test Champions, the BLACKCAPS.
“Our Test team has been successful under the strong leadership of Dean Elgar and his deputy, Temba Bavuma, and have returned good results in recent times. We are confident that they will continue in the same vein, as they head off to New Zealand.
“The inclusions of Simon (Harmer) and Lutho (Sipamla) reaffirm our intentions as a Panel, to reward excellence on the field and the pair have let their work speak on their behalf this past season.
“We wish Dean, coach Mark Boucher and the team all the best for the series and safe travels.”
Proteas Test squad vs New Zealand
Dean Elgar (captain, Momentum Multiply Titans), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain, Imperial Lions), Sarel Erwee (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Simon Harmer (Momentum Multiply Titans), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), Wiaan Mulder (Imperial Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Duanne Olivier (Imperial Lions), Keegan Petersen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Imperial Lions), Lutho Sipamla (Imperial Lions), Glenton Stuurman (Gbet Warriors), Rassie van der Dussen (Imperial Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicket-keeper, Six Gun Grill Western Province).
South Africa Test Tour to New Zealand Itinerary
Thursday, 17 to Monday, 21 February 1st Test Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Friday, 25 February to Tuesday, 01 March 2nd Test Hagley Oval, Christchurch