Graeme Smith has been named in South Africa’s Test and one-day squads for series against Pakistan next month even though the opening batsman hasn’t fully recovered from ankle surgery.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn returned to both squads on Tuesday alongside Smith after he also missed the trip to Sri Lanka in July and August with injury.
Smith has not played since he was diagnosed with a stress fracture which ruled him out of the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales last June.
Smith was also named in South Africa’s one-day international squad for five ODIs which will follow the Tests — but selection convener Andrew Hudson indicated that there were still doubts about his full fitness.
“We should have a definite picture on the status of Graeme’s recovery from surgery within the next two weeks,” said Hudson.
“We will obviously be monitoring Graeme’s condition very carefully and do not want to overload him too much during the early stages of his return.”
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir, dropped after taking some heavy punishment in a Test series in Australia last year, was brought back, joining Robin Peterson as a front-line spinner for what are likely to be spin-friendly conditions.
Fast bowler Vernon Philander, who has become a key member of the Test side, was named in the one-day squad.
He has not played a one-day international since January 2012 — and that was a single appearance against Sri Lanka after an absence of more than three years from one-day games.
Graeme Smith (capt.), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile (wk).
AB de Villiers (capt./wk), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.