Batsman AB de Villiers will return to the role of wicketkeeper for South Africa in the opening two Tests of their four-match series against England starting in Durban on Boxing Day.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed the move on Thursday as they named a 13-man squad for the first two Tests that also included a call-up for uncapped left-handed batsman Rilee Rossouw.
De Villiers did keep wickets during last season’s home series against the West Indies when Quintion de Kock was injured but before that had not donned the gloves in a Test since the 2013-14 home series against Australia.
Both de Kock and Dane Vilas, who kept wickets in the recent 3-0 series loss in India, have been dropped for poor batting form but will play for South Africa A against England in a two-day fixture starting next weekend.
De Villiers’s return to an all-rounder role will enable Temba Bavuma to move back into his normal batting position in the middle-order while Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl will resume their opening batting partnership at the top of the order.
The series is expected to be the highlight fixture in International Cricket over the festive period. The last time these two teams played a Test series was back in 2012 in England which saw the touring side claim a 2-0 victory.
Following the visit of England, South Africa will play host to a 3-match T20 series against Australia in March in the build up to the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 being held in India.