“Sisanda has been a good performer in the last few years. We have had some fitness issues with him in the past and that’s the only reason he was left out,” Mpitsang said. “His consistency has been the reason why he has been selected.”
Temba Bavuma keeps his place as captain, although it is understood that the leadership in red and white-ball cricket will be up for discussion under the new coaching set-up. Bavuma is not part of the SA20 and had a disastrous run as T20I captain at the World Cup in Australia but is understood to have enjoyed a break and is ready for action. “He is in a good space. In the one-day format, he has a good record. We are quite happy with where he is at the moment,” Mpitsang said.
The rest of the squad includes familiar names such as Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, SA20 leading run-scorer Heinrich Klaaasen and David Miller, as well as the first-choice bowling attack of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and allrounders Marco Jansen and Wayne Parnell. But a notable absentee is domestic one-day cup leading-run-scorer Ryan Rickelton.
Rickelton missed the Test tour to Australia because he requires ankle surgery. Rickelton has opted to delay going under the knife in order to play this summer but could not travel for the Australia series because of the risk of worsening the injury and the travel time required to secure a replacement. Mpitsang confirmed he is available for selection in home internationals and could come into contention when South Africa play West Indies in February-March.
“Ryan has performed really well in the last summer,” Mpitsang said. “It’s about where does he fit in at the moment. He is an opening batter. He has got good numbers. In a squad of 16, we just couldn’t get him in. We have had a conversation before we pick the squad and the medical team made it clear that the risk is not as high as when we travel abroad.”
The three-match series will be played over six days, with the first match in Bloemfontein starting on January 27.
All of the squad, except Bavuma, are involved in the SA20, which takes a break from January 25 to February 2 to accommodate for the white-ball series.
South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.