De Villiers, Morkel to play domestic T20s in fitness bid


AB de Villiers last played a competitive match in the Caribbean Premier League in July © CPL/Sportsfile

AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel will be available for their franchise, Titans, in a bid to prove their fitness for the home series against Sri Lanka later this month. Both de Villiers and Morkel have been out of action since the CPL with an elbow and back injury respectively, but are expected to be available for selection for the Test squad.



De Villiers is in the final stages of recovery from elbow surgery which saw him miss the New Zealand Tests in August, the home ODIs and the three Tests against Australia. The Titans confirmed to ESPNcricinfo he will be available for the final two matches of their campaign, which will take place next week.

Whether de Villiers gets game time could be crucial to his participation in the home summer, especially since South Africa’s selection convener Linda Zondi stressed he will need to be match fit before he can resume his national duties. De Villiers is expected to return as captain even though Faf du Plessis made a strong case to keep the role permanently following ODI and Test series wins over Australia.

Morkel, who travelled with the Test squad to Australia but did not play a game because of concerns over match readiness, is available for T20s but has not been picked for Friday night’s fixture against Warriors. With Titans at the top of the table and hopeful of securing their spot in the final, the management has chosen not to alter the team. A source also confirmed that Morkel has not been cleared to bowl longer spells, which could put his participation in the Tests in doubt.

Meanwhile, Hashim Amla sustained a neck injury while fielding at slip during the final Test in Adelaide and will sit out the remainder of the T20 competition. JP Duminy, though, is available to play for the Cobras.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent