Vernon Philander injured his ankle © Getty Images
Vernon Philander injured his ankle in a practice football session ahead of the second Test against India in Bengaluru © Getty Images

South African pacer Vernon Philander‘s chances of featuring in the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match series against England on home soil have been ruled out due to his failure to recover from an ankle injury. Philander, who featured in the first match of the four-Test series against India in Mohali, sustained the injury during a session of football during practice ahead of the second Test at Bengaluru. The news of the same was confirmed by team officials shortly after the Proteas returned home after a mixed tour of India, that saw them win the Twenty20 International (T20I) and One-Day International (ODI) series 2-0 and 3-2 respectively, before suffering a 0-3 blanking at the hands of the hosts in the Tests.

South African Test skipper Hashim Amla however, maintained a positive frame of mind despite the bad news. “We’re all optimistic the bowlers will get their confidence back and the batters will do the job against England,” Amla was quoted as saying according to cricket.com.au.

Philander’s injury increases the list of woes for the South Africans, who were outplayed by the Indians on all fronts in the Test series. Among the other players doubtful of regaining fitness ahead of the England Tests is Dale Steyn, who had suffered a groin injury during the course of the second Test against India, and did not feature in the remainder of the series.

South Africa face England in four Tests, five one-dayers and two T20Is, with the first Test starting on Boxing Day (December 26) at the Kingsmead in Durban. England had earlier announced their Test squad for the upcoming tour, with selectors bringing South African-born Nick Compton in place of Ian Bell in a bold move. READ: Ian Bell axed, Nick Compton included in England squad for South Africa tour 2015-16