De Villiers absence blow for Aus summer
Photo Source: AP
AB de Villiers' injury-enforced absence is a blow not only for South Africa but also for Australia's summer of cricket.
Master batsman De Villiers has succumbed to a need for elbow surgery, ruling him out of the five-match one-day series against Australia in South Africa starting Friday and also the three-Test series in Australia beginning in November.
It's bitter news for the ailing South African team, given de Villiers averages 59.92 against the Aussies in ODIs, and 48.26 in Tests.
He's also played a key role in South Africa's past two Test series successes in Australia, both in 2008-09 and 2012-13.
Australian batsman Usman Khawaja added to pressure on the South Africans, reminding them what they were missing from the former world No.1 batsman.
"They are weakened," said Khawaja.
"I don't know who is going to take over his role, but they've got big shoes to fill.
"But South Africa has a lot of depth in their batting, in their bowling, I expect whoever is going to come up to replace him will do a really good job too."
The loss of de Villiers also affects the marketability of both series against Australia.
He's one of the best batsmen in the world," Khawaja said.
"It's never nice to see a player not play, especially AB because he brings a lot of people through gates.
"That's what it's all about in the end.""
South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee said on Tuesday they had no choice but to put de Villiers under the knife.
"We have tried the conservative management of rest, physio, rehab and cortisone infiltration into the elbow, but that has not yielded the results that we would have liked.
"He will have surgery to the elbow early next week and the target is to hopefully have him back for the Sri Lankan home series over the Christmas period."
Rilee Rossouw will replace De Villiers for the ODI series.