South Africa news December 31, 2013

De Villiers to have hand surgery

AB de Villiers, the South Africa Test wicketkeeper, will be out of action for up to a month as he recovers from hand surgery, but is expected to be fit in time for the series against Australia in February. He will likely play no part in the domestic 20-overs competition, which starts with a triple-header on January 5.

"AB fractured his left hand during the IPL in 2011 after which he had a plate inserted to assist with recovery. The plate has started to cause discomfort in his hand and will be surgically removed in the first week of January," Mohammad Moosajee, the South African team manager, said. "The recovery period is usually three-four weeks and he should be ready in time for the series against Australia in February."

South Africa do not have any international cricket scheduled for January because of the curtailed India series. As a result most of the national players will be available for the 20-overs tournament which runs until February 9. This season the tournament was due to have a much higher profile with several international signings including Chris Gayle and Saeed Ajmal.

After the competition, international fixtures resume. Australia tour the country for three Tests and three T20s, starting on February 12. That will be followed by the World Twenty20 before the winter break. Should de Villiers not be fit in time for the Australia series, South Africa will likely use reserve wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile in his place.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent