South Africa news January 22, 2014

De Villiers making slow progress after hand surgery


AB de Villiers, South Africa's Test wicketkeeper, has admitted he is making slow progress after his hand surgery but remains confident he will be fit for the upcoming series against Australia. De Villiers went under the knife on January 10 and was estimated to need up to a month of rehabilitation before taking the field again. 

"It's still swollen because it was done not so long ago. I still need time away from the game, unfortunately," he told South African news channel eNCA. "I'm going through rehab at the moment and it's quite painful."

De Villiers required the operation to remove a plate from his hand, which had been inserted after a fracture sustained during the IPL in 2011. The plate had begun to cause discomfort and had to be surgically removed. The recovery period means de Villiers will play no part in the ongoing domestic twenty-over competition, which had been largely marketed on the availability of international players. 

But with a high-profile contest against Australia ahead, de Villiers' absence from the Titans is in the national interest. De Villiers is one of the candidates who could slot into the No. 4 spot left vacant by Jacques Kallis, a role he is expected to fill only if he is unburdened of the wicketkeeping gloves.

Whether or not de Villiers moves into Kallis' place in the batting line-up, there is no doubt he will have to assume more responsibility as a senior player as South Africa attempt to beat Australia at home for the first time since readmission. De Villiers was part of the outfits who defeated Australia on South Africa's previous two tours there, in 2008-09 and in 2012, and now hopes they can repeat the same in front of their own fans.

"I'm looking forward to a massive series against Australia," he said. "They're playing really good cricket, but there's no reason for us to stand back. We beat them the last time we played, but it's been a while since we beat them in South Africa." 

While the Australia players have been vocal about their chances, the South African camp has been largely silent but de Villiers hinted it won't stay that way. "I'm looking forward to a rough series against Australia. That's how it's going to be played."

The three-Test series starts on February 12 in Centurion.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on January 29, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    @ jonesy2 writes "it doesn't sound very good for him at all. even if he recovers in time he will have played little to no cricket. I hope he does play I don't want south Africans to have any excuses. @ZainE111-- well expect to be disappointed, what a ridiculous attitude and youre not speaking for any south African fans."

    de Villiers will most likely recover, & if no we will have no excuses - we are not Aussies & we don't winge & make excuses,

    @ZainE111 has no reason to be disappointed, & expecting a convincing victory for SA is not in the least ridiculous. We are playing the worst Australian side in the last 20 years, worse than Bill Lawrey's lot that we destroyed in tests I remember with great pleasure, especially Ian Chappel's tour ave of 11! Aus managed 1 tour victory against a top tier team in over a year, & that team is broken & on its way out - hardly top tier anyway. Aus' batting is weaker than I have ever seen it, & the bowlers so fragile it is a joke.

    Expect to be thrashed

  • Tim on January 23, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Going to be a great series with lots of verbal sparring - and that's just the fans on this site! I hope AB will be fit and ready as we will need him. It remains to be seen how badly scarred the Australians are from the last fixture in Perth. Surely they can't beat us at home again can they?!

  • Zain on January 23, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    I apologise, jonesy2, if my comments offended you. I genuinely believe SA to be the better side - especially playing at home. SA tend to be a bit rusty at the start of a series (since we play much less cricket than you guys - so we have long breaks between series) so AUS's best chance of a win is in the first test.

    @docamit - SA won the second test against India by ten wickets and narrowly missed a win in the first test as well. I wouldn't call that a "difficult time beating India".

    But I think we can all look forward to an exciting series between two in-form teams.

  • James on January 23, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    @docamit This isn't Aus vs Eng or SA vs India. It is Aus vs SA. If you want to base it on previous encounters with SA vs Eng and Aus vs India be my guest.

  • Amit on January 23, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    AUS-SA series would be a great one but i still think that australia will win the series 2-1..South africans had difficult time beating India and australia is far better than india now so im predicting Aus win but it will be a hard fought series..

  • James on January 23, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    @jonesy2, I think he speaks for the majority of Saffa fans.

  • Amrantha on January 23, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    expect a SA victory against a team that even INDIA whitewashed in test and defeated in the odi series...i don't think any team that lost to india will bring much competition to world cricket in general......... AUS vs BANGLADESH would be a more intresting series

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    @jonesy, not sure why you find the attitude of ZainE111 offensive, surely a supporter/fan of a sports team should expect that team to win. What I find amazing is the arrogant attitude of most Australian supporters (and players). Beating an under par England suddenly makes the Australians world beaters, with bowlers and batsmen being touted as "best in the world"...that's a ridiculous attitude 'cobber'

  • Sharjeel on January 23, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    I have no doubt SA will win the series convincingly. Australia should realise that this is not a mediocre side they've just played against in their backyard. They'll be playing on the opposition's turf against a lethal bowling attack and a fantastic batting side. SA don't get the other side out by sledging them out of the game. They simply concentrate on cricket!

  • Bryn on January 23, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    it doesn't sound very good for him at all. even if he recovers in time he will have played little to no cricket. I hope he does play I don't want south Africans to have any excuses. @ZainE111-- well expect to be disappointed, what a ridiculous attitude and youre not speaking for any south African fans.

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