Players' injuries were a major concern for the Proteas in the 50-over World Cup past year and they had to pay the price with a premature exit from the tournament. South Africa won the first Test in Centurion but lost the next two in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth to trail 1-2 in the contest.
Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock in action against England at the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Smith added that the selectors would review du Plessis' remaining roles as Test and T20 captain at the conclusion of the England tour, but stressed the need for a "robust" discussion about his long-term future in the team.
"He is the South African Test captain".
The 27-year-old made his debut for his national team back in the 50-over format back in 2013 in the match against New Zealand.
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Test and Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis was not in a 15-man squad named by Cricket South Africa on Tuesday despite committing himself to the organisation until the World Cup T20 in October and November.
CSA Acting Director of Cricket Graeme Smith reflecting upon de Kock's captaincy said, "We all know the quality of the player that Quinton de Kock has grown to become. Over the years, we have seen him gain confidence and become one of the best wicketkeepers in the world". We are confident that the new leadership role will bring out the best in him as a cricketer and that he can take the team forward into the future and produce results that South Africans the world over can be very proud of.
Linda Zondi, the chief selector, said: "We are really pleased with the squad we have selected, it is a good indication of the depth that we have in the country".
South Africa squad: Q De Kock (capt, wkt), R Hendricks, T Bavuma, R Van Der Dussen, D Miller, JJ Smuts, A Phehlukwayo, L Sipamla, L Ngidi, T Shamsi, S Magala, B Fortuin, B Hendricks, J Malan, K Verreynne.
Du Plessis was surprisingly left out of the squad altogether despite averaging 67.83 in ODI cricket over the past 12 months. The three matches will be played on 4th, 7th and 9th February 2020.