JOHANNESBURG – Newly appointed Proteas coach Ottis Gibson is facing a bowler crisis ahead of his first series in charge of the national cricket side against Bangladesh starting on September 28 in Potchefstroom.
Four of the country’s top bowlers are currently battling with injury and are at various stages of their rehabilitation.
Team doctor Mohammed Moosajee revealed that South Africa will go into the opener against Bangladesh without the services of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris.
“Unfortunately we’ve had a number of challenges on the fast-bowling front,” Moosajee said. “The plan is to make sure all the contracted players are available for the four-day Sunfoil Series matches starting today for the various franchises.”
Philander and Morris were both battling lower back injuries, which they suffered in the recent series away series against England.
Moosajee said Philander was expected to make his return for the second Test against Bangladesh on October 6 in Bloemfontein.
“During the Test series in England, Vernon Philander dived for a ball and injured his lower back.”
Morris was currently receiving treatment to his injury at the Titans, and Moosajee said he could be fit again for the ODI series, but was likely to only make his comeback for the T20 matches.
There was some good news on promising seamer Lungi Ngidi’s recovery from a lumbar fracture, and he could be available for the latter part of the series.
Moosajee left the worst news for last, with Steyn’s anticipated return for the Titans for the opening Sunfoil Series scuppered by a strain to his troublesome right shoulder.
“We are not going to set an artificial timeline for Dale Steyn. The plan right now is to get him ready for competitive cricket when he is ready, and we are hoping that it will be a slow and graduated return to full-intensity bowling,” Moosajee said.
“In reality, the target will only be the Global T20 beginning in November. He is currently working with a physio and biokineticist in Cape Town.”