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Tue Sep 27 00:30:27 CAT 2016

AB elbow doubt

KHANYISO TSHWAKU | 23 September, 2016 08:02
SMART CATCH: Faf du Plessis of the Proteas takes a catch during the team's training session at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg yesterday.
Image by: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

Proteas star AB de Villiers could be out of the crucial Test tour of Australia because of an elbow injury.

He will miss SA's ODI against Ireland in Benoni on Sunday, but if his condition doesn't improve by next week he will have surgery.

That will put him out of action for six-eight weeks - meaning he will miss the five-ODI series against the Aussies which kicks off at Centurion on Friday, and the three-Test series in Australia in November.

"It's not ideal but what else can we do?" coach Russell Domingo said yesterday.

"It's part of the game and we'll have him assessed next week.

"If he passes, we'll have him back in the team but if he doesn't, we'll just have to move on. It's difficult to replace a player of AB's ability but it's a great opportunity for someone else to make a play and stake a claim in the team.

"It is what it is but there's no use moaning about it."

If AB is out, there will be a sigh of relief from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide and Hobart.

Having played series-shaping roles in his previous two tours in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013, he is a loss the Proteas can ill afford.

Domingo, acutely aware of the impact of his absence, also explained why Temba Bavuma will open at Willowmoore Park.

"Maybe, at this stage in his one-day career, he is not suited to coming in at five or six and trying to hit fours and sixes.

"This allows him a nice start in international one-day cricket because he can just play normally. If he hits a good cricket shot in the first five or six overs, it will go for four, whereas if he hits a good cricket shot in the last 10 overs, it might go for one."

Australia's resting of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc ahead of the Test series has again raised questions about player management.

Domingo has been stung by the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" approach by cricket followers, but knows he has been painted into a corner by the relentless international schedule.

"I took a beating from the public saying I'm talking a load of crap and these guys should be playing cricket left, right and centre.

"There's no doubt that the guys are playing too much cricket and I'm saying that again because, as the national side, we sit with issues where we're keeping guys fit to play in other tournaments."

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