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Holland recalled for Proteas series

Victoria spinner earns shock recall to Test squad to face South Africa in March

UPDATE: Spinner Jon Holland has had his surprise Test recall confirmed for Australia's Qantas Tour of South Africa.

Holland played two Tests in Sri Lanka in 2016 and despite being overlooked for tours of Asia last year, to India and Bangladesh, he's been given the nod ahead of Ashton Agar, Steve O'Keefe and Mitchell Swepson for the four-Test series against the Proteas.

EARLIER

Victoria left-arm spinner Jon Holland looms as the latest selection shock following reports that he will be included in Australia’s Test squad for the upcoming Qantas Tour of South Africa to be announced later today.

It was reported that Holland, who played two Tests for Australia as a late call-up during the 2016 tour to Sri Lanka, will be named in the touring party for the four-Test series against the Proteas.

Holland finds form quickly in Shield return

Holland was added to the squad for the Sri Lanka series after fellow left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe broke down with a hamstring injury during the opening Test.

If the 30-year-old, who has dominated for Victoria in the JLT Sheffield Shield in recent years, is named it will likely prove a selection shock to rival the recall of former Test keeper Tim Paine at the start of this summer’s Magellan Ashes Series.

That’s because selectors added fellow left-arm spinner Ashton Agar to the Test squad for the final match of that series against England in Sydney before opting to stick with their three-man pace attack plus off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

"If it was purely as the next spin bowler, then it'd be disappointing to be overlooked, but that's cricket," Holland told Fairfax in early January after being overlooked for the SCG Test squad.

"The selectors obviously think he (Agar) has got more to offer than I do, and that's the way it goes.

"I would have loved another crack at it. It's pretty disappointing.

"After Sri Lanka and not being as prepared as I would have liked and disappointed with the way I bowled, I've worked pretty hard and got the wickets on the board.

"Another opportunity would have been great but I guess it's not going to be."

Holland takes four wickets in 11 balls in Darwin

In addition, pitches in South Africa are traditionally seamer-friendly meaning the likelihood of playing two spinners in a Test there is remote unless conditions resemble the dry, turning wicket that was produced for the recent Test between the Proteas and India at Centurion.

Certainly pitches at Durban, Cape Town and Wanderers in Johannesburg are historically known to support fast bowlers with the only prospect of Australia playing two spinners being Port Elizabeth, which will host the second Test.

Holland receives his Baggy Green cap

The Australia touring party will be named, along with the squad for the upcoming Gillette T20 tri-series against England and New Zealand, in coming hours.

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Jon Holland, Jhye Richardson.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3

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