South Africa’s injury woes ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup worsened on Tuesday as Anrich Nortje was ruled out of the tournament due to a hand injury. Chris Morris has been named as the replacement.
Nortje fractured his right thumb during a practice session in Port Elizabeth on Monday and has been replaced in the South Africa squad by veteran allrounder Chris Morris.
“Anrich sustained a fracture to his right thumb during a net session in Port Elizabeth on Monday,” Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.
“He immediately consulted a hand surgeon and underwent surgery to stabilise the joint and will unfortunately be side-lined for up to eight weeks. This makes him unavailable for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.”
“It is an unfortunate and freakish injury, especially because he had made a successful recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained during the series against Sri Lanka. He has had a few injury setbacks in the last year but knowing Anrich’s character, he will be motivated to come back stronger. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
The loss of Nortje is the latest blow for South Africa, who still have question marks surrounding the fitness of Dale Steyn (shoulder), Kagiso Rabada (back) and Lungi Ngidi (side strain) ahead of their first World Cup match against England on 30 May.
South Africa had named a squad that was a good mix of youth and experience, albeit short in the batting department. Five of the players – Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn – made their World Cup debuts at the tournament on the sub-continent in 2011 and are thus playing in their third World Cup.
Quinton de Kock and David Miller made their debuts in the 2015 tournament in Australia and will be going to the World Cup for the second time.
All-rounder Morris, currently with the Delhi Capitals, has been named to replace Nortje in the squad. The 32-year-old Morris last played an ODI for South Africa in February 2018, but brings with him an ‘X-factor’ appeal as well as depth with the bat.
Commenting on the decision, Cricket South Africa National Selection Panel convener, Linda Zondi said: “Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball. He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat.
“We have had concerns around his injuries and workload capabilities but this is an opportunity for him to make a mark on the biggest stage. Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud,” Zondi said.
“It is unfortunate what has happened to Anrich, he is a talented player with exciting potential. We wish him well on his road to recovery and have no doubt that he will bounce back to fulfil his potential,” he added.
South Africa’s World Cup squad:
Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen, Chris Morris