Baggy Greens will rotate pacemen to avoid injury against Proteas

2012-09-26 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Injuries mean that South Africa and Australia may not be able to throw the full kitchen sink at each other when they meet in a three-Test series Down Under in November.

The clashes in Brisbane on November 9 to 13, and then in Adelaide and Perth are keenly awaited, as the Proteas — now ranked No 1 in the world — are returning Down Under to face the third-ranked Aussies who grabbed a 1-1 share of the spoils from South Africa last summer.

Both the Gabba and Waca grounds traditionally favour pace bowling, with Adelaide Oval the only likely featherbed, and punters expect this department to be be fiercely contested.

As things stand, South Africa ought to be able to field all of their current pacemen in Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morné Morkel and the veteran but still untiring Jacques Kallis.

But their probable “first reserve” throat-hunter, Marchant de Lange, is in a race against time to be able to be considered for squad selection.

The Cricinfo website reported yesterday that Titans prospect De Lange, the sturdy 21-year-old who has already played two Tests, but returned early from the mid-year tour of England with a back stress fracture, may not be ready.

He has been withdrawn from the Titans squad for the Champions League Twenty20 tournament to be staged on South African turf shortly, allowing for his off-field rehabilitation to continue.

If it is any consolation for the Proteas, the Australians are probably sweating rather more at present to have their best speed battery available, while the SA team are certainly blessed that a key component like Steyn seldom falls prey to significant injury.

The Baggy Greens’ South African coach Mickey Arthur has been quoted as saying that their own Young Turks in the pace department — Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc — will have to be carefully “rotated” in the 2012/13 season to manage their loads and try to prevent injuries.

The exciting 19-year-old Cummins has been especially plagued by problems in that regard, something reflected in the fact that he hasn’t played another Test match since making his debut against the very Proteas at the Wanderers last season, where his second-innings figures of 6/79 went a long way to ensuring the tourists’ narrow, levelling victory by two wickets.

He bowled with great venom at the Bullring and was considered to have given even the great Kallis a real “hurry-up”.

Arthur apparently told journalists that Cummins may only be considered for one of the three Tests.

This would suggest Cummins is still very much walking a tightrope fitness-wise.

Earlier this week it was also confirmed that veteran fast bowler Ryan Harris, almost 33, is out of the series because of shoulder trouble.

The Aussies do still have more crusty competitors like Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson to call upon.

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