It's a waiting game for AB and Philander
The national selectors have named ODI captain AB de Villiers in their squad to tour England even though he has recently missed two IPL games because of a recurring back injury threatening to rule him out of the three-match series against England and the Champions Trophy.
De Villiers has missed two games for Royal Challengers Bangalore because of the injury, fuelling fears that he might not be fully fit in time for the Champions Trophy, which takes place before the tour.
Speaking during the Champions Trophy, squad announcement in Johannesburg yesterday, national team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee said the selectors and team management were hoping De Villiers would be fit to lead the side.
"He has been plagued by an acute flare-up of his long-standing back injury, which has kept him out of two of five IPL matches for his franchise so far," said Moosajee. He pulled out of Tuesday's game because he was feeling some discomfort.
"We are in constant communication with his franchise and understand he is in the care of a neurologist and a neurosurgeon in India.
"He had a procedure two days ago which, we hope, will speed up his return to full fitness," said Moosajee.
"He's got a nerve route in the lower back causing him pain and his doctors have carried out a procedure in which medication has been injected into it to settle the inflammation and ease his discomfort."
While De Villiers may still be fit to play against England and in the Champions Trophy, the long-absent Dale Steyn and recently injured Vernon Philander will definitely not be members of the party.
"Dale is very much on track to recover from the shoulder injury he suffered last season. The plan is to get him bowling flat-out in about a month's time.
"We want him to be eligible for selection in two of the three four-day games South Africa A will be playing in the UK.
"As things stand he is very much on track and should be able to play in those two games," Moosajee said.
"Vernon suffered a grade one strain in his right groin while playing county cricket for Sussex in England last weekend.
"He is coming home tomorrow and the plan is to give him at least three to four weeks of rest, so he has time for recovery and rehabilitation.
"Before the Test series in England we will make a call, pending a fitness test, on whether Vernon will be able to play or not," Moosajee said.
- TMG Digital/TMG Sport