South Africa squad for fourth Test v England, 2009-10
Graeme Smith (captain)
The left-hander became South Africa's youngest captain when he was appointed in March 2003 at the tender age of 22. However, he has coped admirably with the burden of leading his country, and continued to pile on the runs at the top of the order. Smith led South Africa to number one in the Test rankings with series wins in England in 2008 - his unbeaten 154 at Edgbaston clinched victory - and Australia last Christmas, although Ricky Ponting’s side gained revenge in the return series.
A fixture in South Africa’s middle order but a prospective top-order partner for Graeme Smith, having opened in the Proteas’ most recent Test coming into this series. The left-hander’s century against England at Headingley Carnegie set up victory there in 2008 but he missed the triumph in Australia through injury and only returned in the finale of the return series. He boasts 150s in his last two Test innings prior to this series.
The first player of Indian descent to play for South Africa. A devout Muslim who sports a distinctive beard, the wristy Amla has forged a reputation of some standing at number three after a relatively slow start to his Test career. However, he failed to register a century in the two series against Australia preceding this one.
Holds the record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper, surpassing Ian Healy in October 2007. Virtually an ever-present in the Test side since making his debut in 1997, Boucher's worth is two-fold: not only is he tidy with the gloves but he is a reliable batsman, often scoring vital runs when his team are in trouble.
AB de Villiers
Still only 25, de Villiers appears to be settling into his middle-order role after several years as something of a utility player. Capable of batting anywhere in the top seven and occasionally keeping wicket, his dynamic fielding has been matched by some heavy run-scoring in recent series. In April 2008 he became South Africa’s first double centurion against India, aiding Test victories there as well as in England and Australia. Could have pursued a career in golf, rugby or tennis.
Friedel de Wet
De Wet’s spell as a Kolpak player at Middlesex in 2008 must be one of the shortest on record - he never played a first-team game - but he has established himself as a consistent seamer for Highveld Lions in domestic cricket. He will surely start the series furthest down the seam pecking order, but South Africa have cited a desire for him to be around the national set-up.
An attractive left-handed top-order batsman, Duminy has made an explosive start to his Test career with an average of nearly 50 after just six games - all against Australia, including 166 in the series-clinching triumph at the MCG. A key component of the middle order in limited-overs cricket with his array of strokes all around the wicket, and will be hoping to establish himself in the longer form of the game. One of the stars of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20.
Harris is the latest incumbent to fill the spinner's role after Nicky Boje retired from international cricket. A tall slow left-armer, he has performed well in Test cricket to date, with his wickets coming at a respectable cost of 32. His Test-best figures of 6-127 ensured an innings victory over Australia in March 2009.
One of only eight batsmen to have scored over 10,000 runs in Tests, but none of the others in that club have taken 250 wickets as well. An exceptional talent, Kallis is arguably the best all-rounder in the world. While his batting might not clear the bars in the way Ricky Ponting does, a Kallis cover-drive is a work of art. Sells his wicket dearly and occupies the crease for long periods. Five of his 31 centuries have come against England.
No sooner had this seam bowling all-rounder called time on a Kolpak contract with Kent, he was ushered to international recognition for the one-day and Twenty20 international series. McLaren is best known for his limited-overs skills, taking a hat-trick in the 2007 Twenty20 Cup final, but he also boasts impressive first-class statistics, as 49 wickets in the 2008 LV= County Championship testifies.
A fast bowler who can extract steepleing bounce, Morkel was earmarked as a potential Test star at an early age by none other than Allan Donald. He has been hampered with injuries since his debut against India on Boxing Day 2006, but can be a real handful as he showed with his 5-50 against Bangladesh in only his second Test.
A Test debut for Parnell is surely not far away. He offers pace and variety from a testing left-arm angle, which has earned comparisons with Wasim Akram. When Geraint Jones played with him for Kent in 2009, he said he was the quickest bowler he had kept to since Steve Harmison in 2005. Parnell took 17 wickets in five championship matches for Kent, almost single-handedly winning a match against Essex. Named in the first Test squad, but unused, Parnell was recalled for the Wanderers.
Petersen impressed onlookers with his calm approach in the one-day series, which included three successive half-centuries. The Highveld Lions player has 17 first-class centuries to his name in a decade-long career, and could easily be called upon for a Test debut in the event of injury to a senior batsman.
The world’s highest-ranked Test going into the series, Steyn is a real handful for any batsman with his searing pace and ability to swing the ball. He has come on leaps and bounds since making his debut against England in December 2004 - his 170 Test wickets prior to this rubber cost less than 24 runs apiece and included five in each innings to defeat Australia at the MCG.
The phrase journeyman cricketer could have been invented for Tahir. Born in Lahore, the leg-spinner represented Pakistan A and spent several years in English club cricket, playing intermittently for Staffordshire. Called upon as an emergency signing, Tahir did little for Middlesex or Yorkshire, though his impact for Hampshire in late 2008 was startling. Tahir took South African nationality on residency grounds, and was called into the squad on a potential turner at the Wanderers, aged 30, as South Africa looked to level the series.
Tahir was withdrawn from the squad because he is ineligible to represent South Africa. De Wet was ruled out of the final Test due to a back injury.