The three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe starting in Bulawayo on Sunday will give the Castle Lager Proteas an opportunity to assess their playing reserves ahead of a busy season culminating with the World Cup in six months. Proteas captain, AB de Villiers, says he is excited about the fresh talent in the squad, which features two debutants in Rilee Rossouw and Mthokozisi Shezi.
"We have four new faces to start off with so there will be a bit of chopping and changing, " De Villiers said prior to the squad's training session in Bulawayo on Saturday. "It’s great, that is also part of preparing, trying to get to the perfect 15 for the World Cup. The guys have been rewarded for their performances at domestic level and with South Africa A, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table."
The three-match series will be followed by a triangular series featuring the hosts and Australia, as World Cup preparations start to take shape.
"It’s obviously all about the World Cup in six months’ time, so it’s important for us to prepare as best as possible in every game going forward," De Villiers said to the media on Saturday. "In saying that, I'm a guy that believes in the present, we have three big games coming up against Zimbabwe and we would love to win. It’s important to get the balance between the World Cup preparation and winning games of cricket now, that's important for confidence."
Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel have been rested for the three-match ODI series.
South Africa ODI squad: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Kyle Abbott, Mthokozisi Shezi, Marchant de Lange, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Wayne Parnell.
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Sunday 17 August – 1st ODI, Queens Club, Bulawayo
Tuesday 19 August – 2nd ODI, Queens Club, Bulawayo
Thursday 21 August – 3rd ODI, Queens Club, Bulawayo