Philander to miss opening Test against Pakistan with a fractured thumb

Philander to miss opening Test against Pakistan with a thumb fracture

South Africa’s ace fast bowler, Vernon Philander will sit out in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan with a fractured right thumb.

The injury has increased problems for the home team as their young pacer, Lungi Ngidi has already been ruled out of the series with a knee injury, which has left only Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier at the disposal of the skipper, Faf Du Plessis.

South Africa’s head coach, Ottis Gibson does not even want to think about another injury as he mentioned the importance of his pace trio of Steyn, Rabada and Olivier.

“If you look at where we are, Steyn, Rabada and Olivier become very important to us,” he said on Sunday. “We just want to manage them as best we can. We’ve seen how Dale’s been going. I don’t want to say we’ve seen a transformation because he’s always been a top player, but he’s back to full fitness and performing like the player of old. KG (Rabada) as always is very important to us.”

Gibson mentioned that he has been trying different pace bowling combinations and he has now got four world-class fast bowlers in his rank, though there have been injury problems.

“We’ve looked at a few bowling options over the past 14 months and we’ve got what we feel now is a very good bowling attack and group,” he stated. “You’ve got Steyn, Rabada, Philander, Ngidi and Olivier, who’s been in and out, but always in our thinking. That’s the making of a good attack in any form of the game.”

The Proteas’ head coach wants to keep his four pacers fit and going.

“My job now is to keep them fit and fresh for them to be at their peak at international level,” Gibson added.

Pakistan will play a three-match Test series, followed by five ODIs and three T20Is. South Africa will face off Pakistan in the first of the three Test matches from December 26.