South Africa's Vernon Philander ruled out of first Test vs Pakistan

Vernon Philander has suffered another injury setback and will not face Pakistan at Centurion.

South Africa seamer Vernon Philander's absence will be a big blow for South Africa.   -  Getty Images

South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has been ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan due to a hairline fracture of his right thumb.

The Proteas had already lost Lungi Ngidi for the three-match series and Philander will also miss the Boxing Day Test at Centurion after only recently recovering from an ankle injury.

South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson said: "I really don't even want to think about what would happen should there be another injury.

"If you look at where we are, [Dale] Steyn, [Kagiso] Rabada and [Duanne] Olivier become very important to us. We just want to manage them as best we can.

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"We've seen how Dale's been going. I don't want to say we've seen a transformation because he's always been a top player, but he's back to full fitness and performing like the player of old. KG [Rabada] as always is very important to us.

"We've looked at a few bowling options over the past 14 months and we've got what we feel now is a very good bowling attack and group,

"You've got Steyn, Rabada, Philander, Ngidi and Olivier, who's been in and out, but always in our thinking. That's the making of a good attack in any form of the game.

"My job now is to keep them fit and fresh for them to be at their peak at international level."

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