Jason Roy sat out England training due to a back spasm © Getty Images
Jason Roy sat out England’s net practice in Bloemfontein due to a back spasm and will undergo a fitness test ahead of the first ODI with South Africa on Wednesday.
Roy suffered the injury during the warm-up but England expect him to be able to bat during Tuesday’s session in order to prove his fitness. His absence would break up the opening partnership he has established with Alex Hales and possibly lead to Moeen Ali returning at the top of the order.
The Surrey batsman has previously spoken about using the tour to build confidence ahead of the World T20 in India next month. Roy scored his maiden ODI hundred in the UAE last year and has been part of an England side that has won five limited-overs series out of six.
South Africa, meanwhile, have added allrounder David Wiese to their squad as injury cover. Albie Morkel had been due to join the squad but also suffered a back spasm playing for Titans in the Momentum One-Day Cup, ruling him out of the first two ODIs.
An MRI scan showed some damage to the vertebrae in his lower back but Morkel could still be involved later in the series.
“I think I have been playing some of the best cricket of my life in the last year and a half,” Morkel said. “If you cannot accept setbacks like these, remain positive and move on, the sporting world will be a dark place.”
South Africa will also be without Kyle Abbott for the first two matches, in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain suffered during the fourth Test against England. Marchant de Lange was called into the squad as pace-bowling cover on Sunday, with South Africa looking to manage the workloads of Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.
Wiese and de Lange formed part of the South Africa A attack dismantled by England in Kimberley at the weekend – taking 2 for 73 and 2 for 69 respectively – but JP Duminy denied that the hosts were below strength. South Africa go into the one-day series having beaten India 3-2 in India last year, following a 2-1 home win over New Zealand.
“I don’t think we’re weakened. I think the replacements are good enough to stand in for those players,” Duminy said. “It’s not an interruption in any way for us. We know what’s needed as a squad and it’s important for us to stay unified as a team, no matter who the personnel are.
“The confidence from the one-day cricket point of view has been pretty good… We’ve won our last two series. But we know this is a tough challenge that faces us, and that England have also been playing really well in this format.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo