• Vernon joins Steyn on sicklist

    South African fast bowler Vernon Philander has some hamstring problems ahead of the their crucial World Cup match against India on Sunday, reports CricketCountry.com.

    The teams will meet at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is a showdown that will influence the final standings of the teams in Group B.

    Philander pulled up with a sore hamstring during South Africa’s first game against Zimbabwe in Hamilton, the team management confirmed.

    During a training session at Junction Oval on Wednesday, Philander did not play the warm-up game of football. He was bowling later on the centre wicket. On Thursday, he did not play the game again and was doing short runs under the supervision of the physio.

    A team official told CricketCountry that Philander normally doesn’t play football and is expected to bowl in the nets in the lead-up. Later, in the nets, Philander was seen stretching under the physio’s supervision and then went on to bat in the nets.

    Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, had addressed the media before the training session and he said he hoped Philander plays a big role in the game.

    ‘There seemed a little bit of bounce here (MCG) last time. Vernon thrives on wickets that offer a little bit. Hopefully there will be something in the wicket for him because he is a hell of a good bowler when there is something in the wicket for him. He is one of the guys in world cricket who is most effective when the wicket does offer something. I am hoping that he can play a big role for us on Sunday.’

    Concerns around Philander’s fitness follows the news that fellow paceman Dale Steyn is battling sinusitis. Losing both Steyn and Philander would be a massive blow to the Proteas, but both still have some time to recover ahead of Sunday’s game.

    Should they miss out, Kyle Abbott and Wayne Parnell will likely be their replacements, although the coaching staff may opt to risk Steyn and Philander because of the importance of the match.