Boucher, Smith question England selection

Retired Proteas veterans Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith have expressed surprise at the composition of England's Test squad for the tour of South Africa later this year.

The out-of-form Ian Bell and leg-spinner Adil Rashid have been dropped, while batsmen Nick Compton and Gary Ballance have been recalled.

All-rounder Samit Patel was retained, while fast bowlers Steven Finn and Mark Wood were not considered due to respective foot and ankle injuries. The uncapped Mark Footitt has been included.

"Eng without @KP24 and now @Ian_Bell… I may be wrong, but I'm feeling a sudden boost of confidence throughout SA fans," tweeted Boucher.

"Very surprised England have selected Ballance for tour of SA…. Thinking our fast bowlers might be licking their lips," added Smith.

The Proteas and English will meet for four Tests. The series opener will get underway at Kingsmead in Durban on 26 December.