Zubayr Hamza might become the centurion of Proteas Test cricketers post-isolation in their Test series against Pakistan.
The Cape Cobras star was named in coach Ottis Gibson’s 13-man squad for the three-match Test series starting on Boxing Day at Centurion Park.
The uncapped 23-year-old Hamza, who is set to become the 100th Test Protea since 1992, has scored 255 runs in his five four-day matches for the Cape Cobras this season to date, averaging 32.
And while he hasn’t gotten over the three-figure mark yet this season, CSA convener of selectors Linda Zondi is adamant that he has what it takes to take the Proteas forward.
Of Hamza’s inclusion, Zondi says: “Zubayr has been one of the standout cricketers in domestic cricket over the past year and carried that form into South Africa A tour to India where he averaged over 50 in the four-day series against tough opposition and under tough conditions.
“Before that, he had an outstanding season in the four-day franchise competition where he scored 823 runs, including three centuries, at the impressive average of 69.
“His selection is part of our vision for the future as we start to feed new players into the system.
“It is inevitable that some of our senior players will start thinking of retiring in years to come and it is vital that we have a good succession plan in place.”
With the good comes the bad and in this case, it was the injury to Lungi Ngidi.
The speedster suffered a knee injury during the MSL and will be sidelined for three months.
Up steps Duanne Olivier, who has been recalled to the squad.
Of his inclusion, Zondi adds: “As unfortunate as Lungi’s injury is we are blessed to have outstanding depth in our fast bowling resources.
"Duanne has impressed on his previous appearances for the Proteas and has had a good franchise season to date with 20 wickets... at an average of 22.80.”
Proteas Test squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn.