JP Duminy was named in South Africa's Champions Trophy squad on Thursday but veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis will miss the tournament due to personal reasons.
Duminy suffered a horror Achilles injury on South Africa's test tour of Australia last November and missed out on the side's golden summer when they cemented their place as the world's number one test team.
His return is a significant boost for coach Gary Kirsten as the 29-year-old provides depth in the middle order batting apart from an additional spin-bowling option.
Although he is not yet fully fit, Duminy has been batting in the nets and running with no discomfort.
"We are all excited by where he is. He is a key component of the team and although we are not putting too much pressure on him to play, he has progressed fairly well," Kirsten said at the squad announcement.
Kallis has asked to be excused for personal reasons but it otherwise is a settled group of players who have been part of the squad through the home one day series against New Zealand and Pakistan.
The team will be led by AB de Villiers, who is also the only wicket-keeping option in the squad but has had back problems as recently as March.
The squad has eight specialist batsmen, five pacemen and two spinners. There are also three part-time spin options.
"We have loaded our batting a bit. We must do well in all departments and we are mindful of that," Kirsten added.
South Africa will begin their Champions Trophy campaign against India at Cardiff on June 6.
Squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Robbie Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.