Faf du Plessis is expected to return to the UK in time to captain South Africa in the first Test against England at Lord’s after going home for the birth of his first child. Du Plessis’ wife Imari gave birth on Thursday, a week before the series opener, which should give du Plessis, who has never played a Test series in England before, enough time to travel back with the squad.
Du Plessis confirmed the arrival of his baby in a tweet: “Our biggest blessing yet came in a small package. So very grateful,” he posted.
In du Plessis’ absence, Dean Elgar is leading the South Africans in their warm-up match against England Lions in Worcester. Theunis de Bruyn was included in the XI as a back-up batsman but South Africa also have Aiden Markram in the squad, who was initially said to be cover for du Plessis. With the skipper set to take his spot at No. 4, it is likely the only debutant at Lord’s will be opener Heino Kuhn, who replaced Stephen Cook in the squad.
South Africa are still sweating over the fitness of Vernon Philander, who was unable to take part in the tour match as he recovers from an ankle injury. Though they are hopeful Philander will be fully fit in a week’s time, Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo are in the squad as back-up.
The touring party will be back to full strength with coach Russell Domingo, who had to rush home after his mother was involved in an accident, also expected to return later this week. This series is likely Domingo’s last in charge with CSA searching for a new coach. Domingo is understood not to have reapplied and interviews for his replacement have already been conducted. CSA has appointed a five-man panel, which includes Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend a suitable candidate by July 21. (ESPNCricinfo)