Vernon Philander. Picture: SUPPLIED
Vernon Philander. Picture: SUPPLIED

Vernon Philander will be the most noticeable absentee from the first Test against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom next week, while Chris Morris and Dale Steyn will not play in the series.

Philander‚ who injured his back diving for a ball in the tour of England, where a cloud hung over his fitness throughout the series‚ will not be available for the first Test in what is an early start to the South African international summer.

Proteas team doctor and manager Mohammed Moosajee hoped Philander would be fit for the second Test‚ starting in Bloemfontein on October6. First he must get through the Cape Cobras’ Sunfoil Series fixture against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers next week.

Philander "has been coming along well and he’s been bowling at 80% intensity.

"The plan is to prepare him for a Cape Cobras Sunfoil Series match starting on September28. Should he come through that‚ he should be available for the second Bangladesh Test‚" Moosajee said. "He’s only building up to full intensity, so we’re not going to risk him by letting him play in the first Test."

Morris may not be as sorely missed as Philander, but adds to the growing South African bowling casualty list.

Morris suffered a lower back injury, which Moosajee said needed a recovery time of 10 weeks, and he will miss the Bangladesh Test series.

"Morris is working with the physiotherapist at the Titans and we’re hoping he’ll be available to play a franchise game in mid-October. If he’s symptom-free‚ he might be available for the Bangladesh ODI series or T20s‚ which is more of a reality."

Steyn’s repetitive shoulder injuries in the past two to three years have increased concern over his longevity in the game.

Steyn had been lined up to play in a Sunfoil series game, but withdrew because of a strain in his troublesome right shoulder.

"We’re not going to set an artificial timeline for Dale Steyn and the plan is to get him ready for competitive cricket when he’s ready‚" Moosajee said.

"We’re hoping it’s going to be a slow return to full-intensity bowling and in reality‚ the return target will be the T20 Global League that starts in November.

"When there’s a trend of a number of fast bowlers being injured‚ we need to look at all the predisposing factors.

"We can talk about age, but there’s no doubt that some of our best fast bowlers who are past 30 have a lot to offer to South African cricket and we need to look at the volume of cricket [they play].

"There’s too much cricket taking place for these fast bowlers and maybe we have to wrap some of them up in cotton wool."

TimesLIVE

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