In a blow to South Africa, pacer Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup with a fractured thumb sustained during a practice session. Chris Morris will be his replacement. Nortje who has so far featured in 4 ODIs fractured his thumb during a practice session and according to reports would need six to eight weeks to make a full recovery.
South Africa team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee confirmed Nortje’s unavailability for the mega event. “Anrich sustained a fracture to his right thumb during a net session in Port Elizabeth on Monday. He immediately consulted a hand surgeon and underwent surgery to stabilise the joint and will unfortunately be side-lined for up to eight weeks. This makes him unavailable for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
“It is an unfortunate and freakish injury, especially because he had made a successful recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained during the series against Sri Lanka. He has had a few injury setbacks in the last year but knowing Anrich’s character, he will be motivated to come back stronger. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
Morris who is currently playing for Delhi Capitals in the IPL last played an ODI for South Africa in February 2018 with the selectors preferring other allrounders like Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorious and Wiaan Mulder with the World Cup in mind. In the ongoing IPL, Morris has performed reasonably well with the ball taking 13 wickets in 9 games but has just aggregated 32 runs with the bat.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Selection Panel convener, Linda Zondi praised Morris’ death bowling skills and stated that he was always there in the team’s plans. “Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball,” he explained. “He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat. We have had concerns around his injuries and workload capabilities but this is an opportunity for him to make a mark on the biggest stage. Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud.
“It is unfortunate what has happened to Anrich, he is a talented player with exciting potential. We wish him well on his road to recovery and have no doubt that he will bounce back to fulfil his potential,” he concluded.
Nortje’s withdrawal adds to the injury concerns for South Africa after Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada both returned from the IPL carrying niggles. While Steyn withdrew from the RCB squad because of a shoulder injury, Rabada was called back to South Africa due to a back niggle. Meanwhile, Lungi Ngidi was ruled out of the IPL with a side-strain even before the tournament began. Teams can make changes to their World Cup squads before May 23rd without the consent of ICC after which any changes have to be ratified by the sport’s premier body.