• Predictable instructions that accompany Philander’s exit

    Opinions vast and varied will surface in the wake of all-rounder Vernon Philander’s omission due to injury¬†from this week’s second and final Test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.

    The Proteas won’t add injury cover to the squad, but Philander will need to be replaced in the XI.

    Recall de Bruyn

    The talented Theunis de Bruyn has collected nine Tests in almost three years – and will gather a 10th if preferred to the uncapped Wiaan Mulder or fellow batsman Zubayr Hamza. De Bruyn could bat in seventh position, which was done against England in 2017 and Australia in 2018, or switch with wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock to sixth.

    Return Hamza

    Potential materialised when Hamza debuted in the absence of captain Faf du Plessis against Pakistan at the Wanderers in Johannesburg last month. Whether he is being primed to replace the veteran Hashim Amla on a full-time basis remains in the balance, but this is a chance for a second cap against opposition far more inspired than Pakistan.

    Debut Mulder

    ‘Wiaan has been part of our strategic thinking in developing a batting all-rounder for the Test squad for some time,’ said Cricket South Africa selection convener Linda Zondi prior to the start of the series against Sri Lanka – and the young understudy is evidently being fast-tracked. Now might be the time to accelerate that growth with a key role in an all-important series decider.

    Photo: Lee Warren | Gallo Images

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