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South Africa have suffered a blow ahead of their Test series against England with fast bowler Lungi Ngidi not expected to play the opening match starting on Boxing Day because of a hamstring injury that has also ruled him out of the Mzansi Super League final.
Ngidi is in doubt for the four-Test series against England after he suffered a "significant Grade 1 hamstring muscle tear" while warming up for Tshwane Spartans before the MSL play-off against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in Port Elizabeth on Friday, in which Spartans won a place in Monday's decider against Paarl Rocks.
Set to name their squad for the first two Tests on Monday, South Africa now face the prospect of being a bowler short when the series gets underway at Centurion on December 26, with Cricket South Africa chief medical officer Shuaib Manjra saying Ngidi's rehabilitation program would be geared towards a return to action in January.
"Lungi Ngidi sustained an acute hamstring muscle injury during the warm-up prior to the MSL T20 play-off on Friday," Dr Manjra said. "Scans done on Saturday showed a significant Grade 1 tear of his hamstring muscle and therefore he has been ruled out of the MSL T20 final.
"He will commence his rehab and return-to-play program with the aim of getting him fit to play for the Momentum Multiply Titans in January 2020 and based on his progress, a decision will be made regarding his availability for selection for the Proteas team."
Ngidi had begun the MSL season with the aim of remaining fit throughout his home summer after a run of injuries over the past two years.
He suffered a hamstring strain during South Africa's defeat to Bangladesh at the World Cup and missed the next three games, although he recovered in time to play two more matches at the tournament. Ngidi's most recent Test appearance was during South Africa's tour of India in October, where he played only the last of the three matches.
The Spartans are surprise MSL finalists after half of their pool matches were washed out. They edged into the final three and then denied the favourites, the Giants, the chance to challenge for the trophy with a 22-run victory in the play-off. Initially, Ngidi missing last Friday's match was seen as a precautionary measure ahead of a busy international summer before scans revealed the extent of the damage.