AB de Villiers will captain South Africa in the historic day-night, pink ball test against Zimbabwe at St George’s Park, in Port Elizabeth, starting on Tuesday (1.30pm).
De Villiers, who is making his return to test cricket after an absence of almost two years, will stand in for Faf du Plessis, who has not recovered fully from a viral infection he picked up in the last week. The infection has delayed his return to full fitness following lower back and shoulder injuries.
Du Plessis’ absence will be worrying for the Proteas management as he has not had any game time since early October which is not ideal when one considers the team will be playing their next test against world number one India in just over a week’s time.
“Faf has been making steady progress from the respective back and shoulder injuries and until last week was on track to make a comeback in this match,” said Proteas manager Mohammed Moosajee.
“He developed a respiratory tract infection which delayed his recovery this week, and subsequently made it difficult for him to make a full recovery in time for the match. He will continue to receive treatment and rehab from our physiotherapist Craig Govender and we are hopeful he will recover in time to lead the team for the first test match against India starting in Cape Town on January 5.”
National selection panel convenor Linda Zondi said: “It is unfortunate that Faf is missing out due to injury but we would rather take the precaution ahead of a busy summer of cricket at home.
“AB has captained South Africa in both the limited-overs and test formats and his experience and expertise will be invaluable for this first Test match of the season. This is a one-off appointment and we thank AB for accepting the decision at such short notice.”