The loss of JP Duminy for the first Test against India in Mohali will change the dynamics and balance of the South African team.
Captain Hashim Amla all but confirmed on Wednesday that Duminy won’t play after failing to recover in time from a hand injury sustained in the ODI series. A final call on the fitness of Morne Morkel will be made on Thursday morning.
Morkel sustained a quad injury in the third ODI and if he misses out too Kagiso Rabada will make his Test debut a bit earlier than expected.
South Africa will still primarily rely on their seam attack to get the job the done and they have been reluctant in the past to make unnecessary changes, but injuries look set to force their hand.
‘There’s an old West Indian saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” so if the seamers do the job for you, be it in the subcontinent or anywhere else in the world, so be it,’ Amla said.
Duminy’s absence means Temba Bavuma will come into the side, but the biggest impact it will have is on the role of the fifth bowler. With Duminy out, that responsibility will now likely be shared between Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl.
‘When JP plays, he adds that added spin option for us. But with him not being in the team for the first Test, it adds dynamics to our team,’ Amla said at a pre-match press conference.
‘In conditions where the pitch is turning, spinners have multiple roles. When it doesn’t turn they fall into a defensive role. When it does turn, naturally they fall into an attacking role. A lot depends on the surface.
‘We have been very strong with our seam bowlers wherever we have been in the world. We have a few options in the seam department and we have been blessed and done well. We are fortunate in that our seam bowlers have done well in the subcontinent. They can be an attacking option. Not many countries around the world can say that. Our spinners will probably do both roles depending on what the game needs.’