• Philander, Duminy still doubtful

    Vernon Philander and JP Duminy will undergo late fitness tests to determine their availability for South Africa’s clash against Pakistan in Auckland on Saturday, reports Kobus Pretorius.

    Both players have missed South Africa’s last two games against the West Indies and Ireland respectively. Philander has a hamstring problem, while Duminy suffers from a side injury.

    ‘Vernon and JP¬†will be put through fitness tests in the next day or two to determine their availability,’ team spokesperson Lerato Malekutu confirmed to SACricketmag.com.

    ‘At the moment neither has been passed fit.’

    Should both be passed fit for the Pakistan game, it will pose an interesting selection conundrum for coach Russell Domingo and his management staff.

    Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott, who replaced the injured Duminy and Philander for the last two matches, have done well in their absence and should feel unlucky if they lose their place in the team.

    Of the two, Rossouw is probably more likely to keep his place since Quinton de Kock is searching for form and there are still doubts over Farhaan Behardien’s suitability for the number seven position in the batting line-up. While Abbott has taken wickets with the new ball, Philander is more experienced and has a better bowling record. He is also a very capable batsman and barring Wayne Parnell the only other genuine all-rounder in the squad.

    Captain AB de Villiers intimated after the Ireland game that no-ones place in the side is guaranteed, after he was specifically asked about Abbott’s performance. This may suggest that Philander will play against Pakistan if he is passes his fitness test.

    There seems to be a lot of patience with De Kock’s struggles with the bat, and it is unlikely that he will be dropped to make room for Duminy, who will almost certainly play if he’s ready. Duminy should be backed as the fifth bowler in the attack and is capable of bowling 10 overs a game.

    This means that Behardien will likely get the chop if everyone is fit and ready.