England fast bowlers Steven Finn and Mark Wood are both set to miss the upcoming tour of South Africa because of injury, the BBC reported Wednesday.
But all-rounder Ben Stokes could be fit enough to be named in a squad due to be announced on Thursday.
Stokes is understood to have recovered from the collar-bone joint injury he suffered fielding in this month’s final Test of England’s 2-0 series defeat by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Fellow pacemen Finn and Wood are both still battling injury problems, however.
Middlesex quick Finn has still to regain full fitness following a none-stress [problem which ruled him out of England’s series against Pakistan in the eve of the first Test.
Meanwhile Wood, who has a chronic ankle problem, was ruled out of the series finale against Pakistan in Sharjah as fresh questions were raised about his ability to play several Tests in a row.
Chris Woakes, who has impressed recently during England’s one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE could now be in line for a Test recall in support of lead pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
But the 26-year-old Woakes, who played the last of his four Tests 15 months ago, faces competition for a place in the squad from Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett.
Meanwhile Alex Hales looks set to be given a chance to push for a place as Test captain Alastair Cook’s latest opening partner, with England still to solve a problem that has dogged them for several years.
The experiment of playing Mooen Ali, a top-order batsman but not a specialist opener and now holding down a Test place for his spin bowling, has not yet been a success.
And there are concerns that Ali’s perceived weakness against the short ball could be exposed by an impressive South Africa pace attack led by Dale Steyn which has played such a key role in taking the Proteas to the top of the world Test rankings.
Nick Compton, Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson, Jonathan Trott and Adam Lyth have all had spells alongside Cook at the top of the order since former captain Andrew Strauss retired in 2012, with none of them able to make the position their own.
England travel to South Africa next month and will begin a four-Test series at Kingsmead, Durban on Boxing Day (December 26).