Theunis de Bruyn, the middle order batsman who has five Test caps, will play two matches for Surrey ahead of South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka in July. De Bruyn will join Surrey for matches against Somerset and Yorkshire as he looks to push for a place in the Test XI, where a spot has become vacant following AB de Villiers’ international retirement.

“I am delighted to be joining Surrey, a club with rich history, for the next two Championship matches. It has always been one of my ambitions to play county cricket,” de Bruyn said.

De Villiers, who returned from a self-imposed long-format sabbatical to play Test cricket for South Africa last summer, occupied the No.4 spot, and de Bruyn is one of at least two candidates vying for that place. Temba Bavuma is the other batsman pushing for the spot and last week said he would be “putting up my hand for that position”.

Bavuma is the front-runner to be promoted, especially after returning from a broken hand to score an unbeaten 95 and 35 in South Africa’s last Test, against Australia in Johannesburg, but there may still be room for de Bruyn in the line-up. If South Africa opt for seven batsmen in their team, a strategy they have employed except when playing in bowler-friendly pitches at home, de Bruyn could be included at No.6.

South Africa play two Tests in Sri Lanka in July before shifting focus to white-ball cricket, where de Bruyn is in the mix in the South Africa A squad. They have five home Tests this summer, three against Pakistan and two against Sri Lanka.

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