Philander doubtful for first Test against Bangladesh

Vernon Philander is doubtful for the first Test against Bangladesh, starting later this month, after Cricket South Africa (CSA) pulled the seamer out of the first round of first-class fixtures starting on Tuesday.

Philander was due to play for the Cape Cobras against the Knights in the four-day game but Cobras coach Ashwell Prince confirmed that Philander is not available as per a CSA directive.

Cobras coach Ashwell Prince told Independent Media on Thursday: “Vern is not available for our first game in Bloemfontein.

“It is frustrating because we are not in control of the situation when it comes to national players. We adhere to Cricket South Africa’s guidelines, and we have been informed that a call will only be made on the 25th (September).”

Philander has not played any cricket since the third Test against England at the end of July and with the first round of domestic fixtures the only game time the Proteas will have before the start of the international season, Philander has to a be a doubtful starter for the first Test against the Tigers, set to begin in Potchefstroom from 28 September.

New Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has insisted that all Proteas players make themselves available for the four-day fixture and will not be happy that Philander again has fitness concerns.

The seamer came in for severe criticism from former SA captain Graeme Smith on the tour of England when Smith questioned whether Philander was working hard enough to stay on the field.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn has already ruled himself out of playing in the opening four-day fixture for the Titans, saying the workload of a long-format game has come to soon after he had been out since November 2016.

The Proteas Test squad will be announced at the conclusion of the first round of four-day games.