Wiaan Mulder likely to be handed Test debut in Port Elizabeth
Wiaan Mulder (Getty Images)

The allrounder Wiaan Mulder, who has played eight ODIs for South Africa, is in line for a Test debut after coach Ottis Gibson hinted at the inclusion of the 21-year-old for the second Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday. Gibson spoke about how a hamstring injury to Vernon Philander sustained during the first Test gives South Africa the option to get Mulder in as a like-for-like replacement.

South Africa had added Mulder to their squad for the Sri Lanka Tests, which was the only change to the squad that had beaten Pakistan 3-0.

Mulder, capped in eight ODIs, returned to the ODI setup last week and claimed 1/20 from three overs as South Africa beat Pakistan 3-2. He had been sidelined with an ankle injury in September, and having proven his fitness and form with ten wickets in three first-class matches, as well as a century, the 20-year-old was ushered back in.

From 20 first-class matches, Mulder has 1034 runs at 43.08, with three centuries, and 60 wickets at 23.61 apiece.

“Mulder was in the original squad as well, and he went and played a game for Lions and he’s back now with us,” Gibson said. “We’ll look at the conditions and the pitch and make the best decision for the team. He would be a like-for-like replacement for Vernon. So that’s something we’ll consider as well.”

Weighing in on Philander’s injury, Gibson pointed out that even though the allrounder has been ruled out of South Africa’s final Test of the season, it does not hurt his World Cup chances.

“Vernon has a grade one hamstring strain, and this is the last Test match of the summer,” Gibson said. “A grade one is 10-12 days, which rules him out of this Test match. There’s still a lot more cricket – Momentum Cricket and stuff – so I suppose that’s where he’ll play his cricket for the rest of the summer.”