In a major blow to South Africa, seamer Vernon Philander is all set to miss the opening Test of the three-match series against Pakistan after suffering a hairline fracture on his right thumb.
Recently, the 33-year-old returned to action after rehabilitation for a recurring ankle injury, which got aggravated during his side's tour to Sri Lanka in July.
Philander's absence might come as a huge blow for South Africa as they are already missing the services of Lungi Ngidi due to a knee injury. As a result, the team will head into the opening Test with only three pacers in the form of Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.
Expressing his disappointment over the same, coach Ottis Gibson said that he doesn't know what would happen if there would be another injury in the team.
"I really don't even want to think about what would happen should there be another injury," ESPNcrcinfo quoted Gibson, as saying.
Gibson further stressed that the team is now looking forward to make sure that their remaining front-line quicks attain full fitness ahead of the Test series against Pakistan.
"If you look at where we are, Steyn, Rabada and Olivier become very important to us. We just want to manage them as best we can. We've seen how Dale's been going. I don't want to say we've seen a transformation because he's always been a top player, but he's back to full fitness and performing like the player of old. KG (Rabada) as always is very important to us," he said.
South Africa and Pakistan are slated to play three-match Test series, beginning Boxing Day (December 26) at the SuperSport Park.