Faf du Plessis will not be available for the first Test against England starting on 6 July.
Du Plessis returned home for the birth of his first child, but will be unavailable for the opening match of the four-Test series.
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‘Faf’s wife gave birth to their first child last week, but the difficult nature of the delivery has delayed his return to the UK,’ said Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.
‘The mother and baby have settled at home, but he will be unable to make it back in time to take part in the first Test match.
‘He will link up with the squad in the UK later this week.’
Dean Elgar, who captained the side in their warm-up draw against the England Lions, will captain the side in Du Plessis’ absence and will become the 12th player since readmission to captain the South African Test team.
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The 32-year-old has a significantly better Test record as captain, scoring 744 runs at an average of 57.23 in 11 matches as skipper, compared to an average of 41.02 without the captain’s armband.
Out of the 1 682 runs scored in his 29 matches without the captaincy, he managed to score four centuries and eight fifties. In his 11 as captain, he scored two centuries and four fifties.
The Proteas skipper was a vital part of the Proteas’ rise to No 2 on the Test rankings.
In Du Plessis absence, the selectors will have to make the decision between Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram to replace him, with Heino Kuhn already the favourite to open the batting with Elgar.
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South Africa have, however, received a boost with the inclusion of Vernon Philander after injury threatened to keep him out of the opening Test.
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The Proteas take on England in the opening Test, which kicks off at Lord’s on Thursday.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport