Meet South Africa's Squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup
The South African team will start off their World Cup campaign high on confidence after a comprehensive win against the West Indies in their recent home series. Most of their front-line players are in excellent form, though the success of the top order in that series means that their batting depth was rarely tested.
In the past the Proteas have been tagged chokers after a series of unexpected losses when they appeared to be among the favourites to win the tournament. They have yet to reach a World Cup final, but will be hoping to go all the way this year.
One of New Zealand's stars of yesteryear, Martin Crowe, expressed his view that South Africa are likely to be the 2015 champions in an article published by ESPN cricinfo on 29 January 2015 - "My heart says New Zealand, head South Africa".
But who are the players representing South Africa during this tournament?
AB de Villliers - Captain
South Africa's captain is in excellent form after a record-breaking performance at the Wanderers on 18 January 2015. In one breathtaking innings he set new records for the fastest 50 in one day internationals (ODIs), a milestone he reached off 16 balls, as well as the fastest 100, reached off only 31 balls. He seemed set to smash the record for the fastest 150 too, before playing one attacking stroke too many and losing his wicket in the dying moments of the South African innings. He scored 149 off only 44 balls in a display that will not soon be forgotten by those fortunate enough to see it.
de Villliers boasts an excellent average of 52.16 at a strike rate of 97.16 and is currently the top ranked batsman in ODIs. To date he has scored 19 ODI hundreds for South Africa.
He holds the record for being the fastest player to reach a career tally of 7000 ODI runs, reaching that milestone in 166 innings, well clear of previous record holder Sourav Ganguly who took 174 innings to get there.
Although de Villiers isn't expected to keep wicket during the World Cup, he is an experienced keeper who could take over the gloves if required to do so.
Hashim Amla - Vice-captain
Amla had a remarkable series against the West Indies and did not fail to go past 50 in any of the games in which he played. His batting average for the series was a remarkable 206.5. He was the leading run-scorer for either team and a worthy man of the series.
It is worth noting that the only match South Africa lost in the series was the one in which Amla was rested.
His career statistics are most impressive. His batting average of 56.41 is unrivalled by any player currently active and has only ever been bettered by the Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate, who played most of his international cricket against the minnows of the game and was rarely successful in his few outings against the test-playing nations.
Like de Villiers, Amla has to date scored 19 ODI hundreds despite the fact that he has played 68 less innings than his captain. He holds the record for the fastest batsman to reach 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 runs and seems set to break more records in future.
He is currently ranked the third best batsman in ODIs.
Quinton de Kock
At 22 years old, de Kock is the youngest member of the South African squad, but he has already proved his worth, scoring six hundreds in his 36 ODIs. He is also one of four players to hold the record for the fastest player to reach 1000 runs in ODIs.
He has just returned to action after an ankle injury kept him out of the game for most of the West Indies visit and failed in the one innings he played. However he is sure to rediscover form soon and, if he plays, his wicket-keeping role will reduce his captain's workload somewhat.
Despite his recent absence from the game, de Kock is ranked number 7 in ODI batting.
Faf du Plessis
Statistics would suggest that du Plessis is not in the same league as his top-order colleagues, but he had a good year in 2014 after he moved up to number 3 in the batting order following the retirement of Jacques Kallis. During South Africa's visit to Zimbabwe in August 2014 he scored three ODI hundreds, two of them against Australia, and narrowly missed out on a fourth.
Although he was not at his best against the West Indies, he is still ranked number 19 on the list of ODI batsmen.
Miller may only be ranked 45 among the world's ODI batsman, but he is a very aggressive batsman who can take apart any attack if he is given the opportunity to do so.
During the recent series against the West Indies he moved up to number 5 in the batting order and was very successful in his new position, scoring his first ODI hundred and averaging an impressive 111.5 at better than a run per ball.
Another player who has recently returned to the team after being injured earlier in the season.
Duminy is currently ranked number 34 among the world's ODI batsmen, and adds value with his bowling ability. Though only ranked number 78 in that department, he has made some valuable contributions with the ball. He has scored three hundreds and 20 fifties for South Africa.
Rossouw's ODI career got off to an inauspicious start after he was dismissed off the first ball in each of his first two innings. He has now been dismissed without scoring in five of his 14 innings and has on three other occasions been dismissed for scores of less than 10. However, in the recent series against the West Indies he was starting to find his feet at international level, scoring two fine hundreds and winning man of the match in the last game of the series.
Barring injury to one of the top batsmen he is unlikely to make the starting eleven against the stronger teams, but has proved he can make a meaningful contribution if he is required to do so.
Although initially picked for South Africa as a batsman, Behardien's position in the lower middle order means that he didn't get many opportunities to score runs against the West Indies, He did however make a meaningful contribution as a bowler, taking 4 wickets at an average of 26.25 - not bad for someone regarded as a part time bowler!
South Africa's premier bowler has topped the rankings in test cricket for some time now, but Steyn is often rested when the Proteas play the shorter forms of the game, and as a result he is only ranked number 3 in ODIs. However the two bowlers ranked above him are spinners with actions that are currently regarded as suspect. As a result both have pulled out of their countries' World Cup squads, meaning that Steyn will be the highest ranked bowler in action during the tournament.
To date Steyn has amassed 151 ODI wickets at an average of 25.14 and an economy rate of 4.8. He has taken 5 wickets in an innings on three occasions.
Philander is better known as a test bowler, but is now an important member of the South African one day bowling attack with an impressive average of 22.25 and an economy rate of 4.61.
He is currently ranked 44 among ODI bowlers, but he was one of the leading wicket-takers against the West Indies despite only playing in three games, and his ranking seems likely to improve soon.
Morkel is currently ranked number 9 among ODI bowlers. His bowling average is 24.69 and his economy rate is 4.95, which is slightly worse than those of Steyn and Philander. He has taken 152 wickets in his ODI career, including two 5 wicket hauls.
Parnell might have been regarded as a surprise inclusion in the South African squad, but his performance during the two games he played against the West Indies showed signs that he is returning to the form that first saw him selected for South Africa in 2009.
He averages a decent 29.25 with the ball but has a relatively poor economy rate of 5.47. He has twice taken 5 wickets in an innings and would have added another 5 wicket haul to his CV had JP Duminy not missed a catch on the boundary in South Africa's last match against the West Indies. His bowling ranking is 47.
Parnell is also a decent batsman who will add a bit of depth to the lower order if he makes the starting line-up.
Abbott has played the least ODIs of any member of the South African squad. His bowling average of 56.00 runs per wicket is not impressive, but his economy rate of 4.97 is not much worse than those of his higher-rated colleagues. He has never taken more than two wickets in an innings.
In recent times many South African born players have represented other countries in international cricket, but it is less common for South Africa to be represented by a player born in another country. However the Proteas often struggle to find quality spinners so they were lucky that this Pakistan-born player chose to make South Africa his home.
While he has often struggled in test cricket, Tahir has been very impressive in ODIs. He averages 20.23 and has an excellent economy rate of 4.39. While he has never taken 5 wickets in an ODI, he has taken 4 wickets on four occasions.
Tahir is currently ranked 20 among the world's ODI bowlers.
Phangiso is not likely to be among South Africa's starting eleven against the stronger teams unless conditions are such that the team plays two specialist spinners. Although his statistics aren't as impressive as those of Tahir, his economy rate of 4.55 is better than those of his fast bowling colleagues. He does not, however, take a lot of wickets and his average of 38.2 is on the high side. He has never taken more than 3 wickets in an ODI.
His bowling ranking in ODIs is 83.