England have called up Somerset duo Dominic Bess and Craig Overton to their Test squad as cover ahead of the first Test starting on Boxing Day against South Africa at SuperSport Park, Centurion due to illness in the camp. Bess and Overton are due to arrive at the team’s base in Johannesburg on Saturday morning. In an official media release, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that due to widespread illness in the England camp, it has been agreed that the match against South Africa A starting at Willowmoore Park on Friday has been downgraded to a three-day friendly tour match with only 11 players batting or fielding at any point in time.
A spokesperson for the ECB said: “ECB would like to take this opportunity to thank CSA 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.”
England are scheduled to play four Test matches against the Proteas, the first of which will begin from December 26 at the Centurion. The Test series will be followed by three ODIs and as many T20Is.
Meanwhile, South Africa have also been dealt with a blow as middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma has been ruled out of the first Test due to muscle strain.
“Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma will miss out on the first Test match against England after sustaining a Grade 1 hip flexor muscle strain which was revealed by scans on Thursday,” Cricket South Africa confirmed in a tweet.
He will remain in the camp and begin his rehabilitation program with the team’s medical staff with the goal of returning to play within seven to 10 days, the cricket board further said.
“A decision on a possible replacement will be made at the conclusion of the South Africa ‘A’ and CSA franchise four-day matches that are taking place this weekend.”