Indian-origin left-arm spinner, Keshav Maharaj has been included in the 15-man Proteas squad for the ICC Champions Trophy, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced today. The squad will play three ODIs against England starting with the first match at Headingley in Leeds on May 24th, before their first group match of the ICC Champions Trophy against Sri Lanka at the Oval on June 3. The 26-year-old Maharaj has had an impressive debut season for the Test squad, and comes into the squad to bolster the spin options alongside Imran Tahir. Morne Morkel makes a return to the limited-overs format after nearly 10 months, adding experience to the pace bowling group featuring Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo. CSA convener of selectors, Linda Zondi, says the selectors have picked a strong squad which covers all of the combinations and conditions on offer for the eighth edition of the eight-team event. "We have been working with this group of players for the last two seasons where our key emphasis has been consistency in selection," Zondi commented. "That has shown in how this group has performed over the last while, which has resulted in winning three consecutive ODI series. "We feel we have a squad that covers every scenario that we could possibly be faced with on the tour.
Most importantly, every player knows and understands their role and value within the squad. "Keshav has had an exceptional debut season for the Test side and his inclusion in the squad gives us a spinner with a different skills and extra batting depth. We have seen how important it is to bat deep in ODI cricket, this option will give us that cover if needed." The squad will depart for England on May 16 and will begin their preparations with two 50-over tour matches against Sussex and Northants.
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