Cricket 17.4.2017 04:36 pm

Vernon Philander’s niggle has the Proteas sweating again

Vernon Philander has the Proteas concerned. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP.

Vernon Philander has the Proteas concerned. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP.

The reliable seamer tweaks his groin in a county game as the national side hope it’s not too serious before the England tour.

The next month or so won’t be good for the Proteas’ collective blood pressure.

Vernon Philander has them chewing their nails as he undergoes a scan for suspected groin injury, just over a month before South Africa start their tour to England.

The stocky seamer is currently playing county cricket for Sussex on a short-term basis as a way of preparing.

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He didn’t take the field for Kent’s second innings – his team’s opponents – as he instead went to London for medical advice.

Philander did though bat in the second innings but it’s his ability to bowl that’s of more interest to the Proteas.

AB de Villiers, the Proteas’ one-day skipper, also didn’t play in the first two games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Bangalore following a back strain.

It illustrates how Cricket South Africa (CSA) face an uphill battle to keep the national side’s stars fit for what is a hectic programme.

Whether it’s good for him or not, Kagiso Rabada hasn’t made his debut in the IPL to date, meaning he’s been resting for a couple of weeks now.

Dale Steyn is also on the mend from a long-term shoulder problem, while Morne Morkel skipped the IPL to prepare for the tour.

It would seem then that there’s enough depth if Philander’s injury is serious.

But, as the Proteas readily acknowledge, they’re so much better with the seamer, whose control is exemplary.

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