Town - He has only played in 30 ODIs
since making his debut back in 2007, but the Proteas still seem to be
entertaining the thought of using Vernon
Philander for the 2019 World Cup in England.
The problem is that he is
battling an ankle injury and he is not expected to bowl until early
That means that he has been ruled
out the upcoming limited overs series against Zimbabwe as well as a three ODI,
one T20I trip to Australia at the end of next month.
If all goes well, Philander will
play international cricket again at the end of the year when Pakistan arrive
for three Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is.
A member of the Proteas medical
team confirmed to Sport24 on
Monday that Philander's ankle injury has been bothering him for a year and that
it flamed up again in Sri Lanka, forcing him out of the second Test in
The injury is so serious that it
could require surgery, but the medical staff are opting instead for a
"conservative treatment" given that the recovery time after surgery
would all but certainly rule Philander out of the World Cup.
It suggests that he is part of
the plans, and selection convenor Linda Zondi confirmed as much on Monday.
If Philander had been fit, he
would have been included in the squad for the upcoming Zimbabwe series.
Naturally one of the most
accurate and devastating seamers in Test cricket, the thinking is that
Philander could give the Proteas attack a significant boost in English
conditions that have historically aided the seamers.
He will, of course, need to show
that he can fit into this Proteas ODI set-up before then and he is running out
Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi
look all but certain to be backed by captain Faf du Plessis, while Dale Steyn
makes his return to the ODI side for the three Zimbabwe fixtures.
"When he was in Sri Lanka it
was just important for us to see Dale getting through the matches and staying
fit," Zondi explained.
"Now, against Zimbabwe, we
want to see his performance and how his experience can fit into this ODI
Zondi added that if Steyn got
through the Zimbabwe series as well as the tour to Australia unscathed and in
good form, he would be in the World Cup mix.
Next year's showpiece begins at
the end of May.