x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Proteas sweating over fitness of Kallis

Kallis' fractured rib ruled him out of the one-day series and if he makes the start of the Tests series, it will be mostly as a specialist batsman.

South Africa have included four uncapped players in their 15-man squad for the first Test against England - with the injured all-rounder Jacques Kallis named despite being a fitness doubt. Young fast bowler Wayne Parnell and all-rounder Ryan McClaren, teammates at Kent last season, in-form batsman Alviro Petersen and paceman Friedel de Wet are the quartet involved for the Centurion opener on December 16. "We have chosen an enlarged squad to cover all our options," said selection convener Mike Procter. "Jacques Kallis is obviously a very big number in our Test side and providing cover for him requires more than one player.

"Alviro Petersen deserves his call-up for the impressive way he has returned to international cricket and the weight of runs he has made in domestic cricket. He is able to cover all of the top-six batting positions. "Ryan McLaren provides us with an all-rounder if we want to go down that route and we want both Wayne Parnell and Friedel de Wet to work in the national set up." Kallis' fractured rib ruled him out of the one-day series and if he makes the start of the series on it will be, in all likelihood, as a specialist batsman.

Captain Graeme Smith returns after missing the Proteas' previous Test against Australia earlier this year while Makhaya Ntini is set for his 100th Test appearance. Meanwhile, England's Tim Bresnan would like the chance to prove he has the all-round ability to fill the void created by the retirement from Test cricket of Andrew Flintoff. "I'd like a crack at it," said Bresnan who has performed well in the one-day arena. "I'm looking forward to getting that chance - and when I do I hope I don't let myself down, and I show what I can do."

But Bresnan will not be making the mistake of heaping unnecessary pressure on himself. "I'm happy where I am at the moment - bowling like I am and batting at eight," Bresnan, 24, said. "If they want to shove me higher up in the order, I wouldn't disagree with that. I'd love to get a few more overs with the bat in my hand." England complete the one-day series with South Africa in Durban tomorrow. "We're 2-1 up, playing good cricket. You can't complain about that," added Bresnan.

* PA Sport