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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Anrich Nortje to miss World Cup with broken thumb, Morris named replacement

Fast bowler Anrich Nortje will miss the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales because of a broken right thumb, Cricket South Africa announced.

Nortje will be replaced by fast bowling all-rounder Chris Morris, who last played an ODI against India in February 2018.

Kagiso Rabada’s back niggle is another concern for South Africa. Team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee said Rabada would need two or three weeks to recover from a back strain which cut short his stint in the IPL.

This could put Rabada in doubt for South Africa’s first World Cup match, against England at The Oval on May 30. South Africa play three games in the first week of the tournament, with matches against Afghanistan and India following the England clash.

There were injury concerns about all four of South Africa’s fast bowlers picked for the tournament, with Rabada and Dale Steyn returning early from the IPL, while Nortje and Lungi Ngidi missed the IPL because of shoulder and side injuries respectively.

Moosajee said Rabada and Steyn were being assessed as they underwent rehabilitation.

Ngidi, though, has been building up to full pace in the nets.

The South African squad will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday.

Nortje suffered a broken thumb while practising in the nets in his home town, Port Elizabeth, on Monday.

"He immediately consulted a hand surgeon and underwent surgery to stabilise the joint and will unfortunately be sidelined for up to eight weeks," said Moosajee.

Selection convener Linda Zondi said Morris ticked all the boxes as a genuine all-rounder.

"Chris is our next best option with the ball," said Zondi. "He has the pace and death-bowling skills and also gives us 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."