South Africa have added Dolphins fast-bowler Kyle Abbott to their squad for the Boxing Day Test against India as cover for the injured Morne Morkel. Morkel sprained his ankle - later diagnosed as a grade one sprain - while fielding in the second innings of the drawn Test in Johannesburg and has been rated as only “20 per cent” likely to play in Durban.
Test captain Graeme Smith said of Morkel’s availability, "The diagnosis Brendon Jackson, the physio, has given is that he is 20% ready for Durban, which Morne believes is 80%. At the best of times, he struggles to control those legs. We missed him in our second innings. Let us hold thumbs, but I don't think the prognosis is great."
Abbott played his one and only Test against Pakistan in Centurion in February this year as a replacement for the injured Jacques Kallis. He shone, taking seven for 29 en route to match figures of nine for 68. However, he made way for the returning Kallis in South Africa’s next Test eight months later. He went onto play three limited-overs internationals against Pakistan in March.
He has been in strong form for his franchise in South Africa’s four-day Sunfoil Series of late, taking five for 34 in the first innings of their most recent match against Lions. He will likely compete with the other fast-bowler in the squad, Rory Kleinveldt, to replace Morkel if he is deemed unfit. Another, albeit unlikely, alternative is that the Proteas opt for an all-pace attack and drop the mercurial Imran Tahir.
South Africa Test squad: Graeme Smith (captain), AB de Villiers (vice-captain), Kyle Abbott Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile.
© Cricket World 2013