Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee has confirmed that Vernon Philander will be back for the second Test against Bangladesh.
The Proteas fast bowler was ruled out of the first Test which starts on 28 September due to a back injury which he picked up during England’s 3-1 series win over the Proteas in July-August.
‘We’ve had a number of challenges on the fast bowling front,’ Moosajee told the media at the press conference to welcome new coach Ottis Gibson. ‘Vernon’s progress has been coming along well but he is only bowling at 80% capacity currently.
‘The plan for him is to prepare for the four-day match for the Cobras beginning on 28 September. Should he come through that, he should be available for the second Test against Bangladesh. At the moment, he is only building up to full intensity so we are not going to risk him in the first Test.’
With Dale Steyn struggling to regain full fitness and Chris Morris also suffering a long injury layoff, the Proteas selectors will have a lot to think about regarding selection for the Test.
‘Chris Morris will likely return mid-October and could feature in the Bangladesh ODI series or T20I series,’ said Moosajee. ‘We won’t set a time for Dale Steyn but the plan is to get him a slow return to recovering after he suffered a setback in his injury. We are hoping he makes his return for the T20 Global League.’
Morris would have been one of the possible replacements for Philander, but now with both unavailable, the Proteas may need to find three uncapped players to fill the void in the squad.
Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel are starters, while Duanne Olivier could receive his best ever chance to make a name for himself.
Lungi Ngidi has been a fan favourite for a call-up, but he too has been recovering from multiple injury problems. Moosajee did, however, confirm that Ngidi could return for the latter part of the Bangladesh series for the shorter formats.
Gibson also stressed his concerns leading into his debut series at the helm.
‘Coming in as a former fast bowler, I’m already concerned about having four of our fast bowlers out injured,’ said the former England bowling coach. ‘You can’t really develop a team with that type of injury list. We have to take 20 wickets consistently to win Tests. We need a group of fast bowlers ready to perform.
‘Everybody is involved in the selection process of players for the Proteas. The to-do list includes attending both Sunfoil games in Gauteng. My job is to get the talent we have to perform on the field and reach our targets.’
Junior Dala and Beuran Hendricks are amongst the favourites for a national call-up after their successful stints for the South Africa A side.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix