JOHANNESBURG: South African captain and star batsman AB de Villiers will undergo a fitness test on Tuesday to determine if he needs surgery that would rule him out of the Test series with Australia.
The world’s number one-ranked one-day international batsman is already out of the one-off ODI against Ireland in Benoni on Sunday because of the persistent elbow injury.
And if he fails the fitness test next week he will need surgery, ruling him out of the one-day series against Australia starting next Friday and the Test series in Australia in November.
South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee acknowledged that de Villiers’ spectacular hitting, especially in limited-overs cricket, had contributed to the problem.
“When he plays certain cricket shots, he gets excruciating pain in the left elbow,” said Moosajee.
De Villiers, 32, has become a virtual year-round cricketer, playing in all formats for South Africa as well as in Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League, where his ability to score at a dizzying rate has made him a crowd favourite.
“We refer to it as overload, whether that’s doing too much and playing different shots, or related to overuse,” said Moosajee.
The injury was diagnosed about six weeks ago, he said, causing de Villiers to miss a Test series against New Zealand.
“At the time the recommendation was to have a period of rest, physiotherapy and aggressive rehabilitation. He has subsequently seen an elbow specialist and the area was infiltrated with cortisone,” said Moosajee.
But the talisman continues to feel pain.
“We are going to reassess when we reassemble on Tuesday and thereafter a call will be made,” said Moosajee.
“He needs to pass the fitness test, the elbow needs to be able to stand up to the rigours of international cricket.
“If he does not come through the fitness test, a date for surgery will be set.”
All-rounder Chris Morris was on Friday sidelined for up to two months with a left knee injury, ruling him out of Australia.
Uncapped fellow all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, originally only selected for the match against Ireland, will remain with the squad for the one-day series against Australia.