Johannesburg [South Africa], Dec 26 (ANI): South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has been ruled out of the inaugural day-night Test against Zimbabwe after his recovery from shoulder and back injuries was delayed by a viral infection.
During his injury lay-off, du Plessis laos underwent a surgery on a problematic shoulder during that period and, therefore, was forced to miss the recently-concluded Ram Slam. He was also not named in the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Invitation XI for a warm-up match against Zimbabwe.
However, du Plessis' return to full fitness was delayed after he picked up a viral infection in the week leading up to the game.
While confirming the news, South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said he was hopeful having du Plessis fit in time for the first Test against India, which is slated to be held from January 5 in Cape Town.
"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. 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 5th," Moosajee said.
In du Plessis' absence, AB de Villiers, who makes his return to Test whites for the first time since January 2016, has been named as the stand-in captain for the one-off match.
Reflecting on de Villiers' appointment, National Selection Panel Convenor, Linda Zondi said that the former has led the side in both the limited-overs and Test formats and that his experience would be invaluable for the side.
"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," Zondi said.