South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup due to a hand injury. Nortje had fractured his right thumb while practising in the nets and will need six to eight weeks to fully recover. The team manager Mohammed Moosajee lamented the unfortunate nature of the injury, saying, “Anrich sustained a fracture to his right thumb during a net session in Port Elizabeth on Monday (May 6). He immediately consulted a hand surgeon and underwent surgery to stabilise the joint and will, unfortunately, be sidelined for up to eight weeks. This makes him unavailable for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.”

“It is an unfortunate and freakish injury, especially because he had made a successful recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained during the series against Sri Lanka. He has had a few injury setbacks in the last year but knowing Anrich’s character, he will be motivated to come back stronger. We wish him a speedy recovery,” Moosajee added. All-rounder Chris Morris has been named as Nortje’s replacement in the squad. The 32-year-old last played an ODI for South Africa in February 2018.

Commenting on the decision, Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Selection Panel convener, Linda Zondi said: “Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball. He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat.” “We have had concerns around his injuries and workload capabilities but this is an opportunity for him to make a mark on the biggest stage. Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud.”

“It is unfortunate what has happened to Anrich, he is a talented player with exciting potential. We wish him well on his road to recovery and have no doubt that he will bounce back to fulfill his potential,” Zondi added. South Africa will play against Sri Lanka and West Indies in the warm-ups on May 24 and 26, respectively, before opening its World Cup campaign against England on May 30 at The Oval.