South Africa news December 9, 2012

Smith expected to be fit for New Zealand Tests

Graeme Smith is expected to recover from bad blow on his elbow in time for the two-Test series against New Zealand early next year. Smith was hit in the nets while training for the domestic one-day semi-final on Friday and had to sit out the fixture when his discomfort did not ease.

"Initially, we thought he would recover in time but because he was in a lot of pain it wasn't worth the risk, especially because he has to be ready to play Test cricket in three weeks' time," Mohammed Moosajee, South African team manager, told ESPNcricinfo. Smith is unlikely to play in the three-match Twenty20 series, which starts on December 21, as he has not been part of South Africa's recent T20 squads.

The rest of South Africa's team, except Jacques Kallis who is recovering from a hamstring strain, were all available to play for their franchises, five days after returning from Australia. Six of them - Dale Steyn, Rory Kleinveldt, Robin Peterson, Jacques Rudolph, AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel - were in action.

That number could have been as many as eight but Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis were not selected by their respective teams. Philander missed out to Steyn, Kleinveldt and Cobras' old hands Johann Louw and Justin Kemp.

Du Plessis, though, appeared to have been left out because of fatigue. He played for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League opener against Melbourne Stars on Friday. He scored 14 off 17 balls, took a catch and was involved in a run-out.

Steyn was also due to take part in the BBL having signed up to play one match for Brisbane Heat. However, Cricket South Africa withdrew his no-objection certificate because the match clashed with the domestic one-day cup final.

Meanwhile, JP Duminy, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon after the first day's play of the Brisbane Tests, is progressing well. He is able to walk with a moonboot and crutch and is on track with the physiotherapy required to make a full recovery. He is aiming for a return in the Champions Trophy in June 2013.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent