Sydney: Fitness clouds and selection dilemmas could hamper South Africa`s chances ahead of next month`s series against Australia.
Pacer Dale Steyn, who has a minor rib fracture, and AB de Villiers, who has had an operation to remove a plate from his hand, are expected to recover in time for the three-Test series. However, the timing is not right as the world`s No.1 team prepares to confront a resurgent Australia.
Selection dilemma over the right replacement for retired allrounder Jacques Kallis, who effectively performed the role of two players in the South African team, also continues.
Former South African all rounder Clive Rice believes the Proteas are vulnerable following Kallis`s retirement, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Speaking on RSN Breakfast Radio, Rice said Australia is riding high on the Ashes feats of its pace attack, which has claimed the status of the `best in the world`.
He said Australia knows how to win and want to win and go about it on that basis, that is the difference between the two sides.
South African team manager Mohammad Moosajee had said that De Villiers had surgery to remove a plate that was inserted after an old hand injury and should be ready in time for the series against Australia in February.
Steyn hurt his rib diving for a ball during the Durban Test against India, but Moosajee said he was not in doubt for the Australia series, which starts at the Centurion on February 12.