The Proteas will be watching one-day captain AB de Villiers’ fitness closely when the Indian Premier League (IPL) starts on Wednesday.
His franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore, confirmed on Tuesday that the devastating stroke-maker will be missing the side’s opening match due to a back injury.
While it’s considered a minor injury, it was troublesome enough to have kept De Villiers out of last week’s domestic One-day Cup final between the Titans and Warriors.
The last thing South Africa needs before next month’s tour of England and the ICC Champions Trophy is the 33-year-old picking up niggles again.
De Villiers only returned during January’s one-day series against Sri Lanka after a long layoff due to an elbow injury.
He was outstanding in last month’s 3-2 series win over New Zealand.
The good news though is that De Villiers did train on Monday with the Challengers, suggesting he should return sooner than later.
“He still has some minor discomfort and we felt that a couple of days off would be best before we have him back in action,” said Daniel Vettori, RCB’s head coach.
“We hope to see him on the field in good form this weekend.”
Yet given De Villiers’ injury troubles, the Proteas won’t quite sleep as easily until he reports back for national duty.