South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Cape Town, 3rd day January 4, 2013

Philander concern for second Test


There was déjà vu at Newlands for Vernon Philander when he took a five-for in New Zealand's first innings. Just 14 months earlier he did the same on debut against Australia. Michael Clarke's men were dismissed for 47 while Brendon McCullum's went two worse and were skittled for 45. The synergy was stark.

Now, there will be more flashbacks for the opening bowler in the lead up to the Port Elizabeth Test. The hamstring injury which kept him in doubt until the day before the Newlands match has recurred and similar uncertainty exists around his fitness for the second contest in the series.

Philander left the field after bowling his final spell of five overs (he bowled 24 in total in New Zealand's second innings) after he felt stiffness in his left hamstring. "He said he slipped in the footholes and because his left leg is his landing foot in his delivery stride when he stretches too far forward with it, it could affect the area again" Mohammed Moosajee, the South Africa team manager, told ESPNcricinfo.

After play, Philander said he felt the irritation slightly lower down in his left leg than where it was previously and "hoped" it was only stiffness. Moosjaee, though, is concerned that the strain has been aggravated so soon after it had healed. As a result, Philander is back on fitness watch and will be monitored and assessed in the lead up to the second fixture.

A grade one strain of the hamstring usually requires seven to ten days rest. The second Test starts next week Friday, which will give Philander a full week but because the latest niggle has occurred directly off the back of a previous one, the recovery time may be lengthened as a precaution.

"With Tests so close together, management may not want to risk playing Vernon but we also don't want to take a call too early," Moosajee said. "What we don't want it is for it become three strains in three weeks then he is out for a month."

Philander suffers from a chronic hamstring condition which would mean that if it is injured again, he could need even more time out of the game. With the Pakistan series to come, South Africa want him available so leaving him out of the Port Elizabeth match may prove the sensible option.

Rory Kleinveldt, Philander's new-ball partner at Cape Cobras and the reserve bowler in the national squad, is likely to play if Philander is ruled. Kleinveldt had a forgettable debut in Brisbane on the recent tour to Australia but came back well in his second Test in Adelaide, where he stood in for Philander whose back had seized up. He has yet to play a Test at home.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    The selectors should reward Gqamane for his fantastic performances. Normally would be too early in a player's career, but with little pressure bowling to a weaker side alongside two seasoned quickies, he would give gain experience for what promises to be a long stint in the national team.. Mc Laren could replace Elgar allowing Smith an extra bowler. This inclusion could also ease the political pressure that has resulted from Tsolikele's omission.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    @kirstenfan. RK's performance in the 1st test was indeed underwhelming. He did indeed take a wicket in the 1st innings at adelaide. Test 1: 0/97; test 2: 1/81; 3/65. Suggests improvement after 1st test nerves. Let's remember that the entire bowling unit had a nightmarish performance with no balls, etc. and that Clarke was dropped off RK in two separate tests as well. He can only do the best that he can do if selected to replace vern. Neither steyn nor morkel have really lived with vern (see 2012 stats) in the past year too. Quite frankly, even if vern plays, it may be an option to play RK ahead of DE? now there's an underwhelming 1st two tests for you. With de lange injured, RK deserves to be the backup and to play, when warranted, on the basis of a bowling average < 20 over the past two first class seasons. @vern detractors???? WOW! logic-defying!!!!

  • Muzammil on January 5, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha, you sir, seem to be the biggest troll on cricinfo! If he is so bad, why bother trolling Philander articles? "And let's not mention his performances in England" Well let's mention it. 12 wickets @ 23.66, (including a fifer at Lord's and the best figures in series) friend you have just made yourself look bad, there! It's certainly clutching at straws when one starts including TOUR matches stats as part of one's assesment! Didn't he miss the second test in Aus? One bad match in his career(1st test in Aus) followed by a good comeback in the third and suddenly he's horrible. Oh wait, you probably didn't watch the series, did you?

  • G on January 5, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    so ? is Marchant fit ...if not how about Morris

  • Prinesh on January 5, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    @Muhammad Usman: Dude, are you serious? Please rather focus on your own country, as opposed to trolling over here...

    It's all relative at the end of the day: As long as big Vern is bowling better than his opposite number, then we're happy (because inevitably there will be conditions where all fast bowlers struggle, not just vern).

    Insofar as i'm aware, Vern (12wkts @ 23.66) definitely out-bowled Anderson (9wkts @ 40.66) in England (and we all know what Anderson did to India in their own backyard) and after one very bad game in Aus, Vern finished off well in the last test.

    I guess that means that england and aus should drop all of their bowlers, since we smashed all of them??? (this is according to your logic)

    Dont forget, Vern hits a decent long ball as well.. Useful coming in at 8.

    Come on dude, show some objectivity please. Let's have educated debates, not mud-slinging contests.

  • sasmit on January 5, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    vern is like sturat clark just better, no aussie was complaining about his pace back then, he wont have a problem in asia, stuart clark was ok there, u just need to find the right length, having said that only time will tell.

    Although an SA fan i must admit that our 2nd string bowlers are pretty thin, compared to the convicts and poms..

  • des on January 5, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Have to laugh at everyone saying Philander got 'thrashed' in England. Guess they wrote his name on the Lord's Honours Board by mistake then?

    The fact is that SA now have 3 bowlers who all take plenty of wickets, and Kallis and Peterson still chip in with a few. So noone can get 5-fers all the time, better for the team but less wickets for Steyn or Philander on some occasions.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Philander please bowl only on SA pitches because else where you will get thrashed as we have already seen you in ENG and AUS. This is the better way to make your bowling average good. SA should drop philander when they tour overseas.

  • Rob on January 5, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    With the very promising De Lange currently injured would Kyle Abbott be the next in line after Kleinveldt ?