Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are fit and ready for the Test series against New Zealand starting on 8 March in Dunedin.
Two of the Proteas’ most senior bowlers, Morkel (71 Tests) and Philander (40 Tests), landed in New Zealand on Sunday and will look to add a boost of experience to what is a young bowling line-up.
After picking up a back injury during the Caribbean Premier League in July 2016, Morkel has fully recovered and since played two One Day Cup games for the Titans. Doctors initially diagnosed his injury as career-ending, but he has since recovered to regain a spot in the national squad.
The 32-year-old, along with his fellow teammates who are not currently involved in the ODI series, will undergo a week-long camp with Proteas batting coach Neil McKenzie and fitness trainer Greg King.
Russell Domingo is delighted to have Morkel back in the squad and commended him for his hard work to regain full fitness.
‘We’re keen to have him back, Morne is a world class bowler and his rehab programme in the last three months have been very intense,’ said the Proteas coach.
‘He’s played a couple of one-day games for the Titans back home and it’s gone nicely, so we’re looking forward to getting him back in our group.
‘To have a bowler with his experience and his class is massive for our younger players.
‘So we want him back into the mix – he is a quality bowler.’
Philander is also fully fit after picking up a niggle in the last Test in Sri Lanka and has played one game for the Cobras in the One Day Cup. He was the Proteas’ most-capped player in the squad that completed Test victories over Australia (2-1) and Sri Lanka (3-0).
The 31-year-old was forced to step up after Dale Steyn (85 Tests) suffered an injury in the first Test in Perth, and has set the example with great performances in a young inexperienced bowling unit.
The ODI side has also lacked experienced campaigners due to Steyn’s injury and Kyle Abbott’s departure. Philander will be monitored closely with a potential call-up to the squad, who will travel to England for the Champions Trophy in June, on the cards.
‘Vernon is fully fit, but obviously, needs to be managed – like a lot of our bowlers,’ said Domingo.
‘Good to have that type of calibre back in the mix.’
Proteas Test squad:
Faf du Plessis (captain, Titans) Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions) Dean Elgar (Titans) Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras) JP Duminy (Cape Cobras) Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions) Quinton de Kock (Titans) Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras) Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins) Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras) Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions) Duanne Olivier (Knights) Theunis de Bruyn (Knights) Heinrich Klaasen (Titans) Morne Morkel (Titans) Chris Morris (Titans)