Smith only 50 percent chance

Proteas skipper Graeme Smith must pass a fitness assessment if he is to have any chance of leading his side into the first Test against New Zealand.

South Africa has named a 16-man squad for the series, which starts at Centurion next weekend.

However, Smith, who missed the final Test against Australia due to an injured left ring finger, is still waiting to see a specialist before confirming his availability.

Selection convenor Haroon Lorgat told Agence France-Presse Smith's chances of playing were "50-50".

Jacques Kallis is expected to captain the team again if Smith is unfit.

Lorgat said a large squad has been picked for the Test-series because due largely to the South African domestic season recently finishing.

Lorgat said potential back-up players had been selected to train with the Test team in order to ready themselves if required.

The same squad was picked for the final Test with Australia.

Lorgat said it is unlikely major changes will be made, despite South Africa losing all three Tests to Australia.

"We have retained the same squad of players after the tough series against Australia, the world's No.1 team," he said.

"We believe that the experience will stand them in good stead and they deserve another opportunity against New Zealand. We will, however, monitor performances carefully as we seek to build a successful Test team."

The squad: Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (vice-captain), AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Boeta Dippenaar, Andrew Hall, Garnett Kruger, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn

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