Injured Proteas speedster withdraws from World Cup squad

Anrich Nortje (Gallo Images)
Anrich Nortje (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Proteas have been dealt a 2019 Cricket World Cup blow with the news that fast bowler Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the tournament with a fractured hand. 

Chris Morris has been named as his replacement in the squad. 

It is a gutting moment for the 25-year-old Nortje, who had forced his way into the 15-man squad despite playing just four ODIs for the Proteas.

Nortje picked up a shoulder injury in an ODI series against Sri Lanka back in March, but seemed to be on track to make the World Cup. 

On Tuesday, however, Proteas management confirmed that the speedster had been withdrawn from the squad due to a fractured hand. 

"Anrich sustained a fracture to his right thumb during a net session in Port Elizabeth on Monday. 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," Proteas team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee, said. 

"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 32-year-old Morris, meanwhile, 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. 

"Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball," CSA convenor of selectors Linda Zondi explained.

"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. 

"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."

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