South African all-rounder AB de Villiers has withdrawn from the Twenty International series against New Zealand to rest ahead of the Test series that begins next year.
Although de Villiers had been named in the squad, he was not due to take on his normal role as captain but after a busy year, he requested to be excused from the series.
De Villiers has taken over as both Test wicketkeeper following the retirement of Mark Boucher and Twenty20 captain this year.
Cape Cobras captain Justin Ontong will replace de Villiers in the squad for the three matches on 21st, 23rd and 26th December. bet365 make South Africa 1/4 to win the series with New Zealand at 3/1.
"It’s been an exhausting few months and I feel that I need some extra rest before the Test series,” de Villiers explained.
"It’s for this reason that I have put in the request and I’m grateful to the Proteas team management for supporting this decision.
Twenty20 coach Russell Domingo said: "AB is obviously an important part of our set-up and while we would’ve loved him to be part of the T20 series, we also need him fully fit and energised for the remainder of the summer."
Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Convener of Selectors Andrew Hudson added: "Justin has been in our limited overs plans for some time now and he has underlined his worth during the recent Momentum One-Day Cup when he excelled as a finisher for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
"As we all know he is also an outstanding fielder with his direct hits and a more than useful spin bowler. We are fortunate to have a player of his calibre to replace AB and the loss of one is certainly an opportunity for the other."
In another change to the squad, Ryan McLaren has replaced Wayne Parnell after the latter suffered a wrist injury.
South Africa Twenty20 International squad: Francois du Plessis (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
© Cricket World 2012
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