Proteas surprise with a new deputy for Quinton de Kock

Heinrich Klaasen is an exciting wicketkeeper-batsman. Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

Heinrich Klaasen, who is actually in competition with De Kock at the Titans too, included for the Test series against New Zealand.

The Proteas on Friday named two uncapped players, Heinrich Klaasen and Theunis de Bruyn, in the Test squad for the three-match series against New Zealand starting next month.

Morne Morkel returns to the squad after missing the recent Test series against Sri Lanka, while there is also place for fellow fast bowler Chris Morris, who was injured for a large part of last year after making his debut against England.

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Another quick bowler, Duanne Olivier, who took five wickets on Test debut against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers last month, has been retained.

Olivier was the only bowler to take over 50 wickets during the domestic four-day season competition.

The inclusion of wicketkeeper Klaasen, 25, comes on the back of impressive form for his franchise, the Titans.

The right-hander was seventh on the run-scoring charts with 635 runs at an average of 48.84, including a season-best 195 in four-day cricket.

“Heinrich Klaasen was one of the top performers throughout the season and he is rewarded for his form by being included in the Test squad,” said national selection convener Linda Zondi.

“With Dane Vilas no longer available for selection, it was an opportunity to reward someone else. This will be an excellent opportunity for Heinrich and we wish him all the best.”

Meanwhile, De Bruyn, 24, also keeps his place after he was also chosen in the squad against Sri Lanka.

He was the third highest scorer with 751 runs in the four-day series and also the captain of the competition-winning Knights.

Olivier, Morkel and Morris join Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell in the squad, giving South Africa plenty of options in the fast bowling department.

“Morne Morkel has worked hard on his fitness over the past few months and we believe he is now 100 per cent fit and fully able to compete for his place in the team,” said Zondi.

“We have six quality fast bowlers in the squad and that shows just how much of depth the country has in this department.”

Keshav Maharaj is the only spinner in the squad.

The players who are currently not involved in the ODI series will depart for New Zealand on Saturday, to prepare and acclimatise ahead of the first Test starting in Dunedin on March 8.

Proteas Test squad: Faf du Plessis (c),  Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Theunis de Bruyn, Heinrich Klaasen, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris.

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