South Africa have been dealt a significant blow in the build-up to the first test against England in Pretoria starting on Boxing Day after middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma was ruled out with a Grade 1 hip flexor muscle strain.

Bavuma will be sidelined for between seven and 10 days, according to a statement from Cricket South Africa, which should mean he is available for the second match in the four-test series that starts in Cape Town on Jan. 3.

No replacement has been called up yet, with the selectors to consider their options after the round of four-day domestic first class matches currently underway, and the three-day fixture between South Africa A and England starting on Friday.

Bavuma, 29, has a modest test average of 31.24 after 39 matches but is admired for his battling qualities in either the number five or six batting position. South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen.Read More..