AB de Villiers ruled out of Australia series

AB de Villiers was named South Africa ODI and T20 skipper after the ICC 2011 World Cup Getty Images

Johannesburg: Sep 30, 2011

South Africa’s new captain for shorter formats AB de Villiers will be out of cricket for four to six weeks after he was told to undergo surgery for his broken left hand middle finger. That means he will not be leading the T20 and ODI sides against Australia, prompting convener of selectors Andrew Hudson to say Champions League has not been kind to the Proteas.

“He saw a hand surgeon Thursday and was advised surgery on the injured finger. A pin or a plate will be inserted to stabilise the finger,” ESPNCricinfo quoted South Africa’s cricket manager Mohammad Moosajee as saying.

“AB’s injury does not only affect the captaincy, it’s also the wicketkeeper and a top order batsman,” Hudson said.

“The Champions League hasn’t been kind to us,” Hudson said. “Last year we lost Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Albie Morkel and we can only hope we don’t suffer more.”

Steyn fell on his head after backpedalling to take a catch while Kallis sustained a back injury and Morkel strained his side, which caused the trio to miss out on matches against Zimbabwe.

With a more important series, against Australia, coming this year, Hudson hoped that the casualties will not mount.

De Villiers broke the middle finger on his left hand during a fielding session Wednesday with the Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of their Champions League T20 game against Kolkata Knight Riders Friday.

De Villiers’ injury sets back South Africa’s plans of starting a new era, with Gary Kirsten as head coach and de Villiers as captain in limited-overs formats. Instead, they will have to put contingency plans in place.

The national selectors met at the Wanderers Stadium, venue of season-opening first-class fixtures, to finalise the T20 and ODI squads, most importantly who will stand in for de Villiers as captain.

“We debated that at length and we will name the captain while announcing the squads next week,” said Hudson.

Hashim Amla was named de Villiers’ deputy in June and Moosajee feels he should captain the side “if all things (are) equal”. However, Amla has never captained the national team, although he led his franchise Dolphins in 2004-5. His inexperience with the armband means that South Africa could return to an old hand.

Graeme Smith, who stepped down as T20 captain last August and ODI captain after the World Cup, or Johan Botha, who was stripped of the T20 captaincy in June, could return to the role as a stop gap.(IANS)