Amla, Philander fit for Pakistan series

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By Jenny Bernstein

Johannesburg - Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander were fully recovered from their injuries and back in South Africa’s team to face Pakistan in the first Test at the Wanderers on Friday.

“Hashim has recovered well and is not feeling any effects from his thigh contusion, so he is good to go” said Protea team doctor Mohammed Moosajee in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“Vernon has also recovered from his hamstring injury and is also fit and ready to play.”

The only player still uncertain was Robbie Peterson who suffered a cut to the webbing between his last two fingers on his right hand in the last Test. Imran Tahir was brought into the squad to cover for Peterson.

“Robbie is into day seven of his sutured laceration on his right hand so it was still a little early to call,” Moosajee said.

“We’ll probably make a decision after practice on Wednesday or else on Thursday morning.”

Philander said he was delighted to be back in the team after sitting on the side lines for the Port Elizabeth Test against New Zealand.

His Cobras team mate Rory Kleinveldt stood in for him and acquitted himself well – taking four wickets for 97 in the match.

“It was pretty frustrating for me sitting out, but I’m glad to see Rory being so successful,” said Philander.

“He’s been bowling very well in domestic cricket so all credit to him for stepping up and doing so well at international level.”

Philander was second to Dale Steyn in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers and said he did not feel threatened in any way.

On the contrary, he thought a little competition within the team was healthy for the game.

“As long as I take wickets and do my job with intent, that’s all that concerns me,” he said.

“Most importantly, if I can help get the team across the line, and onto a winning streak, then that’s what I’m all about. There may be a bit of personal rivalry within the team but it’s good for the sport.”

Philander had not faced Pakistan before and was uncertain what to expect, but said he would continue to go about his bowling in the usual fashion.

“The Pakistan batsmen pose a different challenge from the New Zealand guys as they like playing their shots more.

“I’m not going to change anything in my bowling though. I will go about my business in the same way. A moving ball is a difficult ball to play and hopefully I’ll get the ball moving again on Friday.”

He paid tribute to his skipper, Graeme Smith, who would be captaining his 100th Test on Friday and said he was proud of his achievements.

“Graeme been an outstanding leader and deserves all the credit which comes his way,” said the seam bowler.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and I’d like to wish him well. I know he’ll be a bit nervous come Friday but the team is fully behind him and we’ll be supporting him all the way.” - Sapa

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