Proteas still unsure about Rabada's return for 1st English Test: 'I can't say yes or no'

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  • The Proteas are still unsure of Kagiso Rabada being ready for the Test series in England despite him bowling in the nets again.
  • The pace spearhead is nursing an ankle ligament injury and team management are concerned over whether he'd be able to manage a Test's workload currently.
  • But the doubts over his availability are smoothed over to an extent by Anrich Nortje's return, whom skipper Dean Elgar believes brings a different dimension. 

Proteas Test skipper Dean Elgar "wouldn't be able to say yes or no" to the question of whether Kagiso Rabada will be ready for the three-match red-ball series against England starting next week.

South Africa's pace talisman injured ankle ligaments in the T20 series against their hosts about a fortnight ago and has subsequently been wrapped in cotton wool, notably not featuring in the series triumph over Ireland.

Intriguingly, Rabada has been back in the nets bowling for the past few days already, meaning that the real issue is whether he can handle a specific workload.

"For now, he’s doing all the right things, but I can’t say yes or no to him being ready," Elgar said on Monday, ahead of a rare four-day warm-up match against the England Lions in Canterbury starting on Tuesday.

"There are still nine days left before the Test. He’s high on our list in being fit and providing us with even more resources for the match.

"It's one of our top priorities. He has bowled since we've started our camp in Canterbury. With regards to his workload, I think that’s probably going to be our biggest concern.

"We need to determine whether he'd be able to carry himself through a Test match at a specific intensity and volume of overs."

The 26-year-old's involvement could prove crucial, not only because of his pedigree but also the fact that he and Duanne Olivier are the only surviving quicks from the Proteas' previous trip in mid-2017.

South Africas Anrich Nortje (R) delivers a ball as

However, should Rabada's initial involvement be limited, South Africa do have the consolation of having the strapping and hasty Anrich Nortje back to complement a battery of more medium-paced seamers.

The 28-year-old hasn't played Test cricket since July 2021's excursion to the West Indies owing to injury.

"It's great to have Anrich back," said Elgar.

"He's missed a bit with the injury over the last year. But the way he's bowling in the nets and white-ball games is big for us. He’s brings a whole new dimension to the table in terms of his pace.

"In the UK, if you have those assets, you need to use them."  

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