Chris Silverwood revealed England are mulling over sticking with an all-seam attack for the first Test against South Africa at Centurion.

England selected four seamers and all-rounder Ben Stokes for the second and final match of their series against New Zealand last time out.

The tourists have been affected by illness ahead of the opener against the Proteas, with Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach among those struck down.

Head coach Silverwood says spinner Leach may not be selected regardless of his health, due to previous fixtures at SuperSport Park.

Asked if it is possible England could line up on Boxing Day without a frontline slow bowler, he replied: "Yeah, I think it is.

"Obviously in Hamilton we looked at all the stats, who took wickets at the ground, and it showed that spin didn't really play much part in the games, or certainly have much effect on the games.

"We look at the stats for this ground, it's the same thing, you're looking at wickets taken by seam, wickets taken by spin and the averages that go along with them, it suggests that seam is the way forward, and the thing that has most effect on the game here, so we're certainly looking at that."

Uncapped leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is another option for England, while Dom Bess was called up as cover for Leach.

Silverwood added: "We've got some good resources in the spin department, Leachy is coming back to fitness now, we've got Dominic Bess here as well, Parky who bowled nicely in Benoni [where England drew with South Africa A in a tour match].

"So we've got the resources but we're looking at it for what it is, what has most effect in this game. We're not definitely going down the road of all seam, but it's something we've got to discuss over the next few days.

"I''s not rocket science, every team has these stats. You look at what's effective on that ground and then you look at what you've got in your arsenal and try to put out the best side you can."

South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has announced he will retire from international cricket next month following his country's home Test series against England.

One of the leading bowlers in Test cricket since his debut in 2011, Philander has taken 216 wickets from 60 appearances in the five-day game, at a superb average of 22.16.

The 34-year-old, part of a Proteas team that reached number one in the Test rankings, has also claimed a further 45 scalps in the limited-overs formats, along with a total of 1,784 international runs.

"I will be retiring from international cricket at the conclusion of the Test series against England. I feel that it is the appropriate time to conclude what has been an amazing journey," said Philander in a statement released by Cricket South Africa (CSA).

"It has been a honour and privilege to have played alongside the very best in the game as well as being part of the best Test team for a number of years."

Philander received fulsome praise from CSA's director of cricket, Graeme Smith.

"Vernon has been an outstanding performer in the time that he has represented his country, especially in the Test format," said Smith, a former team-mate of the bowler.

"He has made a huge impact for the Proteas and has been at the frontline with the ball for most of his time in the set-up. He has given his best in every appearance and I think that how he has turned himself into an all-rounder has been particularly pleasing to watch.

"One of the many things that has stood out for me with Vern is his character. His determination and the way that he has always been up for a fight and a challenge has shown the heart of the man.

"He has really done himself and his family proud and I hope he can finish his final series for South Africa with the same character and flair that has become synonymous with him."

CSA's interim CEO, Jacques Faul, added: "Vernon has made a huge contribution to the success of the Proteas over the past years, particularly in Test cricket. The finest tribute one can pay is that he briefly overtook our acknowledged champion, Dale Steyn, as the number-one ranked bowler in Test cricket."

England will continue to monitor Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach as the trio aim to prove they are fit to feature in the first Test against South Africa.

The three players were not involved in the warm-up fixture against South Africa A this week due to illness, leaving the tourists with a depleted bowling attack in Benoni.

Pace-bowling duo Archer and Broad, along with spinner Leach, have taken part in net sessions, however, and batting coach Graham Thorpe was able to offer a positive update after the game finished on Sunday.

England - who called up Craig Overton and Dominic Bess amid the illness issues - begin their series against the Proteas on December 26, with SuperSport Park in Centurion staging the first Test.

"We are going in the right direction," Thorpe told Sky Sports about the three players. "We had a little bit of [illness] going around at the start of the trip.

"The downside is the lack of match time for those guys, but we will have to keep assessing them over the next three days leading into the first Test.

"We've just got to factor in how they feel physically, then how much you feel they are confident going into, and performing well, in a Test match for five days."

While Archer and Broad were absent, England received a boost with the sight of James Anderson in action for a second time on the trip.

Making his return from a calf injury in the first Ashes Test at the start of August, the 37-year-old seamer recorded figures of 3-41 from 19 overs against South Africa's second string.

Thorpe acknowledged Anderson's presence brings some much-needed stability to captain Joe Root's line-up.

"It's phenomenal," the former England international said. 

"I think in 2004, which was my last tour as a player, Jimmy was just coming into the squad. To think he's still out there now, 15 years later, performing. It's great to have him back out there.

"As we saw today, he's very skilful, keeps it very tight and creates opportunities. That's the type of bowler we want over here."

Ollie Pope is hoping lessons learned from watching New Zealand's BJ Watling and England captain Joe Root will provide him with a platform heading into the Test series against South Africa.

Pope scored 132 from 145 deliveries in England's first innings against South Africa A, in the visitors' final warm-up match ahead of the first Test, which starts on Boxing Day.

The 21-year-old, who hit 75 in England's second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, says taking tips from Root – who scored 226 in that match – and Watling, who amassed 205 in the first game of the series, has helped him adapt his style.

"In New Zealand the wickets were good value, fairly slow. Watching the way BJ Watling went about his stuff and Rooty when he got his double hundred," Pope told Sky Sports.

"You can almost be really specific and wait for the ball to get right in your area. The way I got out in the first Test was with right shots, I got a bit greedy.

"You don’t need to take those risks. If I keep batting time, face as many balls as I can, hopefully the rewards will come.

"It's nice [to start the tour with 100]. It's nice to get some time in the middle. I felt good out there, going into the Tests knowing that I’ve got used to the wickets a little bit, adapted my game a little bit. Hopefully I can take that into the first Test."

England's squad has been struck by an illness, meaning Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach have so far been unable to feature in the warm-up games, while Joe Denly revealed he had been suffering from "flu-ey" symptoms.

Fortunately for England, Archer, Broad and Leach trained on Saturday, and Pope is hopeful the visitors will be able to call on a full complement of players for the first Test at Centurion.

"The boys have been training this afternoon and they're getting back to it now," Pope said.

"It's been a bit of a strange start to the tour with everyone being injured or ill.

"This was supposed to be a first-class game but it ended up not being because we didn't have the seamers to put out."

Craig Overton and Dominic Bess have been called up by England as cover ahead of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa due to illness in the camp.

A number of players in the England squad are suffering from sickness, so the Somerset duo have been drafted in and will arrive in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The widespread illness has resulted in the warm-up match against South Africa A being downgraded to a friendly, permitting the tourists greater flexibility with their line-up.

An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson said: "ECB would like to take this opportunity to thank CSA [Cricket South Africa] for their flexibility on this situation and to emphasise that under normal circumstances we would have wanted to play the match first-class, but illness in the camp has made this very problematic."

Overton and Bess have played four and two Tests respectively.

South Africa named six uncapped players in their squad for the first two Tests and lost Temba Bavuma to a hip flexor muscle strain on Thursday.

Temba Bavuma will miss South Africa's first Test against England due to a hip flexor muscle strain, the Proteas have confirmed.

Bavuma, one of the more established figures in a much-changed South Africa squad for the four-match series with England, underwent scans on Thursday, which revealed a grade one strain.

He will remain in the national team's camp and is expected to be available again in seven to 10 days, but the Boxing Day Test will come too soon for the 29-year-old.

South Africa will make a decision on a possible replacement for Bavuma after the conclusion of this week's South Africa A and franchise four-day matches.

The Proteas' initial squad - for their first Test under new head coach Mark Boucher - already featured two batsmen uncapped at Test level, Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen.

Cricket South Africa continued to follow the advice of Kevin Pietersen as they confirmed Jacques Kallis as their new batting consultant on Wednesday.

Kallis is the latest high-profile former South Africa player to take up a fresh role with the Proteas, after his old team-mates Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher were respectively named as acting director of cricket and head coach.

And all three of those appointments, together with Jacques Faul's arrival as interim CEO, were suggested by Pietersen in a tweet on December 6.

Amid huge uncertainty at the time, Pietersen wrote, "I can solve Cricket SA problems", before going on to recommend Faul, Smith, Boucher and Kallis for the positions they have since taken on.

The ex-England batsman, who hails from Pietermaritzburg, also put forward Makhaya Ntini and Robin Peterson for the roles of bowling coach and spin bowling coach.

On the evidence of the last 12 days, Ntini and Peterson may soon be getting calls from CSA.

 

Jacques Kallis will again link up with Mark Boucher after being named as a batting consultant for South Africa ahead of their home series against England.

Cricket South Africa announced the appointment of the former all-rounder, one of the greatest players in Proteas history, on Wednesday, eight days before the first Test with England in Centurion.

Kallis is the latest ex-South Africa star to take up a non-playing role with his country in recent days. Graeme Smith took over as interim director of cricket last week and swiftly appointed Boucher as head coach.

Now 44, Kallis played 519 international matches in a glittering career.

He is the third-highest run-scorer in Test history behind Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, having amassed 13,289 runs at a spectacular average of 55.37.

Kallis also claimed 292 Test wickets, as well as contributing 12,245 limited-overs runs and 285 wickets for the Proteas.

 

Faf du Plessis says AB de Villiers has already held discussions over a potential South Africa comeback.

De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018, stating he had "run out of gas".

New Proteas head coach Mark Boucher said it would be remiss of him not to try to tempt one of South Africa's greatest batsman to have a change of heart, with the T20 World Cup on the horizon next year.

South Africa captain Du Plessis revealed talks with the 35-year-old started a few months ago.

"People want AB to play and I am no different," said Du Plessis, speaking to reporters after playing for Paarl Rocks against Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final.

"Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: What does it look like? How does it look over the next year? And that's where it starts.

"T20 cricket is a different beast, it's not a lot of time away from home. If you are a full campaigner, you have to really get stuck in and spend a lot of time on the road.

"Test cricket now is the most important thing but also the T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn't a lot - I reckon 20 T20s over the season - which won't be that hard on one to do that.

"Those conversations have already taken place and will continue to before the next T20 series starts."

De Villiers is set to make his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat next month.

Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit are among eight South Africa internationals to sign new contracts with Western Province Rugby and the Stormers.

Flanker Kolisi, who captained the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in November, and World Rugby Player of the Year Du Toit have committed their futures to the Cape Town-based Super Rugby side until 2021.

Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Damian Willemse and Dillyn Leyds will also remain with the Stormers.

They finished bottom of the South African standings in 2019 and head coach John Dobson knows they must realise their potential after securing the services of such key men.

"Players like Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Dillyn Leyds, Damian Willemse and Frans Malherbe are part of the fabric of Stormers rugby, so it is fantastic to know that they will all be around to add value to our team environment in the next two years," said Dobson.

"We know what these players offer on and off the field, the challenge now is to get the most out of their considerable talents."

World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi is one of eight Springboks who have signed contract extensions with Western Province Rugby and will play for the DHL Stormers in 2020 and beyond - https://t.co/YGyXGZ5wCl #iamastormer

— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) December 17, 2019

Springboks skipper Kolisi said: "I have been playing with some of these guys my whole career and we are all looking forward to reaching new heights in a Stormers jersey.

"We have a strong group of senior players and talented youngsters coming through all the time, which is what we need to reach our goal of rewarding the faithful for their incredible support.

"I know it has been a tough few years for us and our faithful, we really appreciate them for sticking with us and hopefully we will have plenty to celebrate in the future."

James Anderson is in "fantastic physical condition" as he prepares to play for England in their opening warm-up match in South Africa, according to head coach Chris Silverwood.

The Lancashire seamer has not featured for his country since suffering a calf injury in the first Ashes Test against Australia at the start of August, missing the recent tour of New Zealand as he continued his rehabilitation.

However, the 37-year-old - England's leading wicket-taker in the longest format - was included in the squad for the four-Test series against South Africa, which begins in Centurion on Boxing Day.

Before then, however, the tourists have a two-day fixture against a Cricket South Africa Invitational XI in Benoni, with the game getting under way on Tuesday.

Anderson is set to feature as he aims to prove his fitness ahead of the opener at SuperSport Park, according to a tweet from his county, with Silverwood impressed by the experienced bowler's displays during practice.

"He [Anderson] is in fantastic physical condition," Silverwood told the media. "Watching him in the nets it looks like he's right in rhythm, he looks strong and he's doing what Jimmy does with the ball. He gets wickets.

The Proteas - who have appointed Mark Boucher as their new head coach - have named six uncapped players in their squad for the first two Tests.

Pacemen Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks, batsmen Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and wicketkeeper-batsman Rudi Second were all selected, along with opening batsman Aiden Markram, who missed the third and final Test against India in October due to a wrist injury.

Lungi Ngidi and Wiaan Mulder, however, are both ruled out.

South Africa have named six uncapped players for the first two Test matches against England, while Aiden Markram has been included.

Pacemen Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks, batsmen Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and wicketkeeper-batsman Rudi Second are all in line to make their Test debuts in Mark Boucher's first match as head coach.

Second is granted another chance after withdrawing from the team for the third Test against India in Ranchi, while Paterson, Van der Dussen, Hendricks and Pretorius have represented the Proteas in limited-overs cricket.

Markram has been included in the squad after pulling out of the Ranchi match due to a wrist injury, but Lungi Ngidi and Wiaan Mulder have not been passed fit.

The first Test gets underway in Centurion on Boxing Day, and the teams will reconvene at Newlands from January 3.

"The high number of uncapped players coming into the squad is a reflection of our policy to acknowledge players who do well at franchise level and have put their hands up for selection," said Cricket South Africa independent selector Linda Zondi.

"Van der Dussen, who is third on the current four-day batting averages, and Pretorius, who has established himself as the leading all-rounder, are clear examples of this.

"Following the same trend, Paterson has been the second-leading wicket-taker in four-day cricket this season, including a seven-wicket haul in an innings, and we want to go into the Test series will a full arsenal of fast bowlers who have always provided one of our traditional strengths.

"Beuran Hendricks is also part of this strategy and adds variety to the attack as a left-arm swing bowler.

"Malan has been one of the most consistent runs scorers in franchise cricket for many seasons now and, as a specialist opening batsman, he provides cover for Markram, while Second provides cover in the wicketkeeping department and is a top order batsman in his own right."

A further two Tests, for which a squad has not yet been named, will follow later in January.

 

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Pieter Malan, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen.

South Africa paceman Lungi Ngidi is set to miss the first Test against England due to a hamstring injury.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Sunday revealed Ngidi sustained a "significant Grade 1 hamstring muscle tear" during Tshwane Spartans' warm-up for the Mzansi Super League (MSL T20) play-off against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Friday.

The 23-year-old quick has been ruled out of the MSL T20 final versus Paarl Rocks on Monday.

Ngidi looks unlikely to feature in the Boxing Day Test at the start of a new Proteas era under head coach Mark Boucher and it remains to be seen when he will be available to return.

CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra said: "Lungi Ngidi sustained an acute hamstring muscle injury during the warm-up prior to the MSL T20 play-off on Friday.

"Scans done on Saturday showed a significant Grade 1 tear of his hamstring muscle and therefore he has been ruled out of the MSL T20 final.

"He will commence his rehab and return to play program with the aim of getting him fit to play for the Momentum Multiply Titans in January 2020 and based on his progress, a decision will be made regarding his availability for selection for the Proteas team."

Ngidi has been plagued by a series of injuries early in his career, most recently damaging his hamstring during the Cricket World Cup.

South Africa name their Test squad to face England on Monday.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler are among the England players to be rested for the ODI series against South Africa, but they will return for the Twenty20s.

All-rounder Stokes, paceman Archer, wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler and quick Mark Wood have not been included in a 16-man squad for three ODIs in February.

Seamer Pat Brown, batsman Tom Banton, spinner Matt Parkinson and fast bowler Saqib Mahmood are included for the first time in the 50-over format.

Joe Root is among eight players from England's triumphant Cricket World Cup squad to be selected, but the Test captain will not feature in the T20 series - which comes after the ODIs.

Moeen Ali and Jason Roy were included in both squads after missing the tour of New Zealand. 

There is no place for Banton, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, Mahmood and James Vince in a party of 16 for the contests in the shortest format.

England national selector Ed Smith said: "These two squads were selected with an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.

"In the T20s, a number of players who were rested for the successful 3-2 victory in New Zealand return to the squad: Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy.

"We want to expand the pool of players who can perform successfully for England, while also helping the team to peak for major tournaments."

 

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (captain) Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood. 

A return to the England Test team for the upcoming tour of South Africa would have felt too soon, all-rounder Moeen Ali has conceded.

Moeen opted to take a break from the longest format after a chastening experience in the first Ashes Test with Australia at Edgbaston.

He scored only four runs with the bat, suffering the ignominy of twice being undone by fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon, while taking disappointing match figures of 3-172 with the ball.

England went on to draw the five-match series, failing to regain the urn in the process, before losing a two-match series in New Zealand 1-0.

That led to talk of Moeen returning for four Tests in South Africa, but Jack Leach and Matt Parkinson were selected as the slow-bowling options in the 17-man squad.

"It just felt too soon. The past few years have been so full-on and the plan behind my break from Test cricket was to freshen up, enjoy some new environments and get my game back in good order," Moeen wrote in his column for the Guardian.

"That is something that people perhaps don't realise is hard to do when you play all three international formats and particularly so when you are an all-rounder.

"The time away has felt quite liberating. Since my international debut in 2014, the miles on the clock have probably crept up and Test cricket is the level where the pressure and scrutiny are greatest.

"Combining it all had become a bit draining and rushing back now might have seen nothing change in this regard.

"Playing 60 Tests has meant so much to me, especially picking up 181 wickets and five five-wicket hauls, which for a guy who grew up thinking as a batter first is something I never thought possible.

"My batting is where I really want to find form again, though. Five Test centuries suggests I have it in me."

Moeen, who is set to play in the Pakistan Super League for Multan Sultans, did not rule out the possibility of featuring in the tour of Sri Lanka in March next year.

He claimed 18 wickets – the same tally as left-armer Leach - in a 3-0 whitewash in England's last Test series in the country, back in November 2018.

"The back end of the PSL coincides with the Sri Lanka Test tour in March and at this stage it is a tournament I intend to see out," he added. 

"But the franchise's head coach, Andy Flower, is someone I know I can talk to, if and when the England conversation arises again. So let's see what happens."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.