AB de Villiers is set to play in a three-day warm-up game against Zimbabwe in December to get him ready for the four-day day/night Test that will take place in Port Elizabeth from Boxing Day.
De Villiers has not played in the longest format since January 2016, first because of injuries and then because of a self-imposed exile from the Test whites.
There had been speculation that the 33-year-old would retire from red-ball cricket but he announced in August that was stepping down from the ODI captaincy but would be available for the Proteas across all three formats.
With South Africa taking on India and Australia in home Test series in the new year, it is important for the batsman to get some time in the middle in the longer format.
De Villiers is currently playing for the Titans in the T20 Challenge and South Africa’s convener of selectors Linda Zondi has been impressed with his form but wants to see him get some time out in the field in white clothing.
Zimbabwe have a three-day tour match in Paarl from 20 to 22 December and De Villiers is likely to be included in that fixture, according to Zondi.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Zondi said: “We’d like to get him back in whites as soon as possible and we have some plans in place. There’s the practice match which will be good for him.
“The manner in which he has played has shown that he is ready. It was never a case of him being rusty but just about getting him match fitness.”
After the Zimbabwe game, the Proteas will play India in a three-match Tests series from 5 January while Australia arrive in SA in March for four Tests.