Mumbai Indians and South Africa seamer Ryan McLaren has been chosen in the Proteas' 15-man squad for the upcoming Test series against the touring Indians beginning at the Centurion on Dec 16. It turned out McLaren's addition is the only change to the side that toured to UAE to play against Pakistan last month.
The South African selectors were initially going to come up with a dozen-man squad for the three Tests, so that the players not chosen could apply themselves to the domestic SuperSport matches that begin on the same day as the first Test against India. But perhaps with a view to keeping their bowling options open, the selectors have included a few more players.
In terms of the highest wicket-takers in the SuperSport series, McLaren comes it at the fifth spot with 14 wickets and a very impressive average of 20.57. He debuted in Tests against England in Jan this year, but has not played in the format since then. He picked up just one wicket in the England test and scored 33 not out with the bat. So selectors are looking at his allrounder prowess to aid them in their final decision. With McLaren in the sqaud, he will most likely slug it out with the other seamers - Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe - for the fourth seamer's position.
Although traditionally, the South Africa side fields just one spinner for Tests at home, the selectors have retained both Paul Harris and Johan Botha without giving any indication which one has their preference at the moment. But unofficial sources claim that Harris has a slight edge over Botha. Meanwhile, Ashwell Prince and J P Duminy are both in contention for a middle-order spot, but there's no saying yet who will make it.
South Africa Test squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe