Albie Morkel sidelined by ankle injury
Allrounder Albie Morkel will miss at least the first third of the South African domestic season after undergoing ankle surgery. Morkel tore ligaments in his ankle during the Titans pre-season tour in August and is targeting a December comeback.
That will mean Morkel will sit out the first two rounds of the first-class competition that begins next week, the entire one-day tournament - which would rule out his outside chance of featuring in the World Cup - and some of the twenty-over event. His franchise, Titans, said Morkel was "distraught" with the setback.
Morkel is one of the senior-most members of the Titans side, especially after the retirements of stalwarts such as Martin van Jaarsveld and Paul Harris two seasons ago. Morkel was Titans' third-highest run-scorer in the twenty-over competition last season with 202 runs at an average of 28.85 and a strike-rate of 127.84, and helped his team to the playoff which they lost to Dolphins.
His finishing efforts earned him a recall to South Africa's squad for the World T20 in Bangladesh earlier this year. He played in all five matches but could manage only 33 runs and one wicket. Even though South Africa have not played T20s since then, Morkel's international career appears all but over, especially as this injury will rule him out of the November tour to Australia, which include three T20s.
For Titans, the task of rebuilding will start off doubly difficult because they are also without their other allrounder, David Wiese, who could be on the sidelines for between two and four weeks. Wiese's concern is also his ankle. Better news for Titans is that they will have their pacer Junior Dala and opening batsman Heino Kuhn available for selection. Dala, who joined Titans over the winter, has recovered from a side strain while Kuhn's finger injury has healed.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent