Sri Lanka v South Africa, 1st Test, Galle July 14, 2014

SA sweat on de Villiers fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa are sweating on the fitness of regular Test wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, who is suffering with a tight right hamstring and was unable to keep wicket during Monday's practice session. CSA said de Villiers is likely to play the first Test against Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday though there are doubts over whether he will keep.

De Villiers' injury worry increases the chances of 21-year-old Quinton de Kock making a second Test appearance, five months after making his debut, and this time he may find himself behind the stumps as well.

It was during his century in Saturday's ODI in Hambantota that de Villiers first experienced discomfort in his hamstring. He spent an hour and 41 minutes at the crease and scored a blazing 108 off 71 balls to take South Africa to their highest-ever total against Sri Lanka and a first ODI series win on the island.

He did not take part in any wicket-keeping drills in Galle as a result. In a media release, CSA said he will "continue to receive treatment," and that he is "likely to be available for selection for Wednesday's match." However, de Villiers has previously suffered from back problems and the management may choose to err on the side of caution if they feel he is not fully fit.

Should de Villiers be forced out of the starting XI, de Kock would take his place behind the stumps but will probably bat in the lower-middle order. Although de Kock's Test selection appeared premature in the only Test he played - against Australia in March - the youngster has hit form in Sri Lanka after struggling through the first two ODIs and struck a century alongside de Villiers on Saturday.

If de Villiers misses out, it may also create room for a Test debut for Stiaan van Zyl - the Cobras' top-order batsman who is part of the squad but is thought to be competing with de Kock for the No. 6 spot. Dean Elgar remains set to open with Alviro Petersen.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jim on July 15, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    there is a record going on with AB. He has now played 92 tests on the trot. if he can reach 157 that would be a record

  • Shahzad on July 15, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    AB de Villiers will avoid putting extra stress on a hamstring injury by playing as a batsman only in the first Sri Lanka test with Quinton de Kock taking over wicketkeeping duties, South Africa captain Hashim Amla said on Tuesday.

    "De Villiers unfortunately has being struggling with a hamstring, he hasn't kept in any of the practice sessions and it is unlikely he will keep tomorrow (Wednesday)," Amla, who will make his debut as a test captain, told reporters.

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    Not ideal. While QdK is a more than capable batsman, I don't think his keeping is quite up to AB's standard. Revised team with AB only playing as a batsman: 1. Petersen, 2. Elgar, 3. Amla (C), 4. de Villiers, 5. du Plessis, 6. de Kock (WK), 7. Duminy, 8. Philander, 9. Steyn, 10. Morkel, 11. Tahir.

  • Johann on July 15, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Since we are starting fresh, let's also get rid of Alviro. He might look like class, but his last big innings was in 2012 in England where he scored 150, but only after giving four chances. He has had more chances than he deserves. Give both de Kock and Van Zyl a spot (Tsolekile was indeed never good enough and he is old wood).

    Team: Elgar, De Kock, Amla, Faf, De Villiers, Van Zyl, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir. If De Kock has to keep, let Amla open and move the rest up to let De Kock bat at six or seven. If AB cannot play at all, then I think about giving Piedt a chance - he probably won't score less than Alviro and he can bowl! I might have to eat my words (If Alviro does play as expected, then I do hope I have to eat my words, as I'd rather the team win and I be wrong), but that is my conviction.

  • Deon on July 15, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    @ Islahuddin Shams - Tsolokele is very, very lucky that he had a prolonged First Class career. He should never have been anywhere near the national squad.

  • aldrin on July 15, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    thami was never good enough

  • Sohan on July 15, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    to be honest AB is the better Wicketkeeper than others.

  • greig on July 15, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    Once again, I have to repeat myself. Why should the one of the Best batsmen in the world be burdened with the Wicket keeping gloves when you have a talent like De Kock waiting in the wings??? AB has a history of back injuries and niggles. He also wants to bat at 3. So you could have AB at 3, Amla at 4 and De Kock Keeping wicket.

    De Kock must play. They could even use him as an opener instead of Alviro Petersen who is very inconsistent.

  • Andrew on July 15, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    @ Islahuddin Shams: Let's be honest, and this really gets my goat, Tsolekile was never cut out for international cricket. He should never have been in the squad nor should he have been given a central contact. A lot has been said about his inclusion (or non-inclusion) on the basis of his ethnicity (ESPNCricInfo Story 591802). Bottom line - he is not good enough. Some numbers: in 150+ professional 1st class games, he has scored 1 more hundred than de Kock has in 21 games. And who can forget de Kock's ODI record - 5 tons in 19 games. Whilst neither have great test stats, Tsolekile has shown no promise (HS of 22 in 5 innnings). Plus, at nearly 34, he is past his best, whereas de Kock is just starting out. And Tsolekile above ABdV…in what world? Unlucky not to play…I don't think so. More like lucky just to have ever been considered.

  • Rob on July 15, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    As SA's best batsman, AB should never be burdened again with the gloves. Give them permanently to de Kock.

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