De Kock ruled out of the WI series
Quinton de Kock has been ruled out of the rest of the series against against West Indies with an ankle ligament tear. The wicket-keeper will miss the remaining two Tests, and all of the limited-overs matches which includes three T20s and five ODIs, with an eye on making a recovery in time for the World Cup.
He requires between six and 12 weeks of rehabilitation but South Africa's first match of the tournament is in eight weeks' time, which team manager Mohammed Moosajee said will "hopefully afford a sufficient recovery period."
De Kock rolled over his ankle during the warm-ups on the morning of the third day of the Centurion Test and was unable to keep wickets for the rest of the match. AB de Villiers, who did the job before de Kock debuted in Sri Lanka, was handed the gloves and will keep them for the rest of the series. Cricket South Africa said a player "to act as cover will be announced in due course."
That would likely mean a Test debut for the only reserve batsman in the squad, Temba Bavuma. The Lions No.3 has played 68 first-class matches and an average of 35.95 and would likely bat in de Kock's position in the lower middle-order. If he plays, he will be the first black African batsman to ever represent South Africa and the first black African player to turn out for the team in almost four years, after Lonwabo Tsostobe was part of the New Year's Test in 2011.
Alternatively, South Africa could search outside the squad but that would against their policy of promoting players who have been non-playing members of the squad before casting the net wider. A batsman who may come into contention would be Farhaan Behardien, who is currently second on the this season's first-class competition run-charts. Rilee Rossouw, the Knight's batsman. is injured, while Colin Ingram, who is the third on the run-scorers' list, has accepted a Kolpak deal at Glamorgan.
More worryingly for South Africa will be whether de Kock will return to full fitness before the World Cup. Since November last year, he has been both the first-choice opener and wicketkeeper and has formed a successful partnership with Hashim Amla at the top, while also relieving AB de Villiers of the workload. Although de Villiers could find himself back behind the stumps, if de Kock is not available for the World Cup, South Africa will have to look for another opener. Morne van Wyk, who played at the 2011 World Cup and currently captains the Dolphins, would be one option but South Africa will hope de Kock is fit in time.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent