Vernon Philander backs South Africa to cope in absence of Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers
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Vernon Philander backs South Africa to cope in absence of Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers

South Africa enter first Test at Lord’s against England without two of their key batsmen – AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.

cricket Updated: Jul 05, 2017 13:46 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Vernon Philander,Faf du Plessis,AB de Villiers
South Africa's AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis (R) will skip the first Test against England.(Reuters)

South Africa pacer Vernon Philander asserted the absence of two key batsmen — Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers — in the first Test against England starting Thursday will not affect his side greatly, adding that the visitors have enough firepower.

South Africa are all set to begin their four-match Test series in England with the first Test starting at Lord’s on Thursday. While Faf du Plessis will be missing the Test due to the birth of his first child, AB de Villiers has opted out of the tour.

AB de Villiers is set to have a meeting with the Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials over his future in August. Earlier, it was reported that de Villiers was eyeing a comeback to Test during South Africa’s home summer, when they face India and Australia.

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Dean Elgar has been named skipper for the first Test, and Philander is confident the visitors — who have not lost a series in England this millennium — will be able to carry on undeterred.

Ahead of the opening Test, Philander said: “We’ve lost players in the past, and guys have stepped up. It’s an opportunity for someone else to step up and make a name for himself. That’s the way we always see it.”

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“We’ve made adjustments in order to move on. I think that’s a personal decision. It’s entirely up to him what he wants to play. We’re a settled unit now. The boys have obviously done well over the last 12 months. Our focus is not on one particular player. Our focus is on the team,” he was quoted as saying by Sport 24.

Philander has extended support to the stand-in captain Elgar. “He’s got a job to do. I hope he’ll get a win under his belt. We’ll probably make his job as easy as possible,” Philander said.

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The right-arm pacer also backed Kagiso Rabada to have a successful outing in England. “He is just a phenomenal talent. Every time he gets the ball in hand he seems to want to run in and bowl faster and get wickets. He has got a never-say-die attitude about him which is exciting to have. He is not shy of bowling the overs and giving it to the batsmen as well. Hopefully he will have a good Test series,” Philander said.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 13:44 IST