TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
AB de Villiers has been elbowed out of SA’s imminent home one-day series against Australia and their test series in Australia in November.
De Villiers, who missed SA’s two tests against New Zealand last month as well as a one-day international against Ireland on Sunday because of an elbow injury, failed a fitness test on Tuesday.
“Although the physio strapped his elbow while he was batting this morning, and he did feel some relief with some of his shots, the elbow pain hasn’t resolved completely,” SA team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a video released on a Cricket SA (CSA) social media account.
In a subsequent release CSA quoted Moosajee as saying De Villiers had “not recovered from his elbow impingement injury which makes surgery the only long-term solution”.
“We have tried the conservative management of rest, physio, rehab and cortisone infiltration into the elbow, but that has not yielded the results that we would have liked,” Moosajee was quoted as saying.
He will have surgery to the elbow early next week and the target is to hopefully have him back for the Sri Lankan home series over the Christmas period.”
That will not go down well with a team who are working hard to bounce back from a string of disappointments.
Since July last year SA have lost a one-day series in Bangladesh, been beaten in a test series in India and in another at home by England and failed to reach the final of a triangular one-day series in West Indies.
De Villiers is SA’s one-day captain and, when Hashim Amla resigned the test captaincy in January in the middle of the England series, he stepped into that breach.
Faf du Plessis, who has led SA in De Villiers’ absence, is probably a better captain.
But De Villiers’ greater value to SA is as the most devastating batsman in world cricket.
He was their leading run-scorer in tests and ODIs last year and remains the top ranked batsman in the latter format.
Beating the No. 1 ranked Australians without De Villiers will be hard enough in the ODI rubber, but winning a test series against them in their own backyard without him is a far stiffer challenge.
Rilee Rossouw, who replaced De Villiers in the squad for the Ireland match, will stay with the squad for the five ODIs against Australia.
That series starts in Centurion on Friday.