Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rib injury rules out Kallis

South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis is to miss the entire one-day international series against England because of a fractured rib.

It is thought Kallis suffered the injury during the Champions League in India last month, but it was only after a scan this morning that the true extent of the problem was uncovered.

South Africa intend to call up an as yet unnamed replacement batsman, having already privately accepted Kallis was not likely to be regularly bowling his full 10-over entitlement in a five-match series set to get under way at Centurion on Sunday - following Friday's washout at The Wanderers.

"It is with deep regret that we have to announce Jacques Kallis is out of the one-day series," said coach Mickey Arthur."He just wasn't getting better from that injury.
"We had him re-scanned this morning and found there is a fracture in the cartilage of the rib - which clearly affects his performances for the next four weeks.
"Obviously, it's very disappointing."

South Africa hope key player Kallis will be fit again in time for the start of the Test series against England next month - although Arthur admitted the first match at Centurion may be a "grey area".

In the more immediate future, Hashim Amla will replace Kallis at the top of the order - alongside captain Graeme Smith.

"We have groomed Hashim Amla to open the batting in one-day cricket - and he will be a more than adequate replacement," Arthur predicted.

Should the need arise, South Africa will pick Kallis as a batsman only for the Test series - but the nature of his injury means that would be an unwise policy in the ODIs too.

"The priority for us is the Test matches, and we need to get him fit and ready for them," the coach explained.

"The balance he brings to our Test side is huge, so he wasn't going to do a hell of a lot of bowling in the one-dayers anyway.

"We would play Jacques as a batter only in Tests if need be. He is among the top five batters in world cricket, so we could certainly do that.

"We wouldn't push him to bowl in the first Test if we thought it would impede in matches two, three and four.

"The injury is affecting his batting at the moment - and what he needs now is four weeks off to get mended.

"If he batted then the movements of batting and running between the wickets and stretching would all affect his recovery - so that is why we're pulling him out of this series."

South Africa appear optimistic if not entirely confident of Kallis' readiness for the start of the Test series.

"He will have an injection to speed the recovery up, but the first Test might be a grey area," said Arthur.

"For the second onwards, there are no issues."

Arthur is equivocal about whether Kallis' absence may be a boost for opponents themselves beset by a collection of 'niggling' injuries.

"England may be lifted, but I don't think any side takes glee in seeing the opposition's best players getting injured," he said.

"I know we don't get any at seeing England's growing injury list.

"You want to be testing yourself against the best players all the time - and you want the best players out on the field."

As for the longer-term future of 34-year-old Kallis, a world-class player with much mileage on the clock after 131 Test and 295 ODI caps, South Africa's management appear well aware of the toll taken by such a workload.

"We need to have a look at Jacques' scheduling and we need to manage him through now," added Arthur.

"We are going to have to manage his workload. We were trying to minimise the burden on him going into the one-dayers to make sure he was bowling fit for the Test series."

At least the hosts know now exactly what has been troubling one of their main men.

"It's a certain injury now, and we've pinpointed it," Arthur reported.

"The other day, he was yelping around in training and we were saying 'come on Jacques - stop being a wuss' and 'man up!' But the poor guy had a fractured rib."

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