JOHANNESBURG – The South African Test squad are due to welcome back Faf du Plessis, AB De Villiers and Quinton de Kock to the ranks, but Dale Steyn still unlikely to be risked for the first Test against Australia at the start of March at Kingsmead, Durban.
The positive news regarding several stars who have been nursing injuries should boost the morale in the camp ahead of the Test showdown with Australia.
Following a number of bruising encounters against India, many of the core figures in South Africa's lineup were nursing injuries.
Captain Du Plessis and star men De Villiers and De Kock are raring to go but Steyn, who suffered ligament damage in his foot in the first Test against India in January, is unlikely to be involved in the early part of the series.
Team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said: “Faf du Plessis sustained a fracture of the right index finger during the ODI series against India, and this usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal.
At the moment we are in that 4-6 week period and he is currently being monitored weekly. He will start batting tomorrow (Wednesday) and we are hopeful he will come through that and be available to captain the team for the first Test against Australia.
“Quinton de Kock has fully recovered from his left wrist injury. De Kock joined the T20 squad practice on Tuesday for batting practice and is good to go for the Australia Test series.
“AB de Villiers was withdrawn from the current T20 International series due to a left knee injury but will make a full recovery ahead of the first Test match.”
Moosajee also had encouraging news about middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma. “He is progressing positively following the fracture to his hand. The plan is for him to play a club game on Sunday for Soweto CC, which will also double up as his fitness test. If he comes through the match he will be available for selection.”
Steyn has stepped up his rehab but is being monitored week by week Steyn has stepped up his rehab but is being monitored week by week
On Steyn, Moosajee confirmed that the fast bowler was making great progress and was increasing his bowling intensity. “He will in all likelihood feature in the series against Australia, but the medical team will want him to play some form of cricket before a Test match. At the moment we will target one of the four-day matches for the Titans. We are taking it week by week.”
Test series schedule:
1-5 March: 1st Test, Durban
9-13 March: 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth
22-26 March: 3rd Test, Cape Town
30 March-3 April: 4th Test, Johannesburg
African News Agency (ANA)