Johannesburg - Proteas captain AB de Villiers could miss his side’s Test tour of Australia in November if the left elbow injury, which has sidelined him recently, requires surgery.
The national team’s management on Thursday withdrew De Villiers from the side for the one-off One-Day International against Ireland that will be played Sunday in Benoni. Mohamed Moosajee, the team’s manager said De Villiers is being given an extra week to rest the elbow with the optimistic view that he’ll be available for the first ODI against Australia next Friday.
However Moosajee said that that would be dependent on De Villiers passing a fitness on Tuesday. “He has what is commonly referred to as ‘impingement syndrome’ - when he plays certain shots he gets excruciating pain in the left elbow,” Moosajee explained.
“Sometimes, this type of injury does settle down with rest, or if the area is infiltrated with cortisone as we’ve done, but in AB’s case it hasn’t been so.”
“On Tuesday it will be reassessed, thereafter a call will be made. He needs to pass a fitness test - that elbow needs to stand up to the rigours of international cricket.
“Then only will a decision be made. If he does not come through a fitness test then a date for surgery will be set. If he goes for surgery, you are looking at a period of between six and eight weeks of rest. We don’t want to pre-empt that, we want to give him every opportunity to recover and hopefully play a part in that series in Australia.”
Surgery would mean De Villiers missing that much-anticipated three Test series in November - the first of those Tests starts on November 3.
Moosajee said the injury was the result of “overload and overuse.” “The cricket calender is more extended than it used to be,” Moosajee remarked. “The IPL has added to the load. Having played more than 10 years of international cricket, there will be some form of injuries.”
De Villiers picked up the injury while playing in the Caribbean Premier League T20 event in June and South Africa’s coach Russell Domingo said more needs to be done to resolve issues with cricket’s calender to ensure the best players are available at international level.
“There is no doubt that guys are playing too many games, in too many formats,” said Domingo. “At the end of the day, we as a national side sit with issues in that we are sort of keeping guys fit to go and play in other tournaments, which is painful for me. Guys are playing too much and something needs to be done about it.”
South Africa will be captained by Faf du Plessis in Sunday’s ODI against the Irish. De Villiers’ place in the squad has been taken by Rilee Rossouw, who himself has only just returned from an injury sustained when diving in the field during South Africa’s May tour of the West Indies.