South Africa seamer Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the ICC Cricket World Cup with a hand injury, which he suffered during a practice session in Port Elizabeth. Nortje fractured his right thumb while practising in the nets, and will need six to eight weeks to make a full recovery. All-rounder Chris Morris has been called up into the squad as a replacement.
Morris, 32, who has been named as the replacement, last played an ODI for South Africa in February 2018 and has gone through a largely forgettable IPL with the Delhi Capitals.
South Africa team manager, Dr. Mohammed Moosajee, lamented the unfortunate nature of the injury. “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,” Moosajee said on Tuesday (May 7).
Commenting on the decision to bring in Morris, Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Selection Panel convener, Linda Zondi said: “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.
The injury will come as a big blow for South Africa, who would have been hoping to use Nortje’s pace and bounce to trouble teams in England. Their current pace order of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn are also nursing or have just come back from injuries. Both Rabada and Steyn played in IPL only to return home with niggles. Ngidi was ruled out of the full tournament even before it began with a side strain.
Earlier, Nortje had missed out on the IPL for KKR with a shoulder injury.