Philander back to domestic cricket after injury break

Vernon Philander has battled injury and illness during the England tour Getty Images

Vernon Philander will make a much-anticipated return to cricket this week, after being named in the Cobras squad for the first-class fixture against Dolphins that starts on Monday.

Philander has not played any cricket since July, when he suffered a stomach bug during the third Test against England at The Oval. He was due to turn out in the fourth Test a week later in Manchester but back spasms sidelined him and he has been recovering from the issue since. He was not considered for South Africa's recently-completed two-Test series against Bangladesh but could put himself into contention for the inaugural four-day, day-night Test against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day.

South Africa's cricketers are not scheduled to play any long-form fixtures in November or the first three weeks of December, a window that was created for the T20 Global League. With that tournament now postponed, the domestic franchise T20 competition is expected to be brought forward and, if fit, Philander will feature for Cobras in that event as well.

Another injured quick, Dale Steyn, is also targeting the November matches for a return to action but there is no confirmation on the availability of Morne Morkel, Chris Morris or Wayne Parnell, who are recovering from a side-strain, a back problem and a groin injury respectively. Lungi Ngidi, the young Titans quick, who was not played top-flight since June with a back injury, has been named in the franchise's four-day squad to play this week.

South Africa are currently carrying a long list of walking wounded. Apart from the six bowlers mentioned, David Miller has missed the last two ODIs against Bangladesh with a groin injury and captain Faf du Plessis had to retire hurt in East London after sustaining an acute lower-back strain while batting.

The number of niggles would have been a major concern if the T20 Global League had kicked off as planned on November 3. Instead, these players now have additional time to prepare for a heavy international workload from January, when South Africa will host India for three Tests, six ODIs and three T20s, followed by Australia for four Tests.