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Graeme Smith raises questions over Vernon Philander’s fitness

Smith had captained Philander from 2011 to 2014.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Ex -South African captain Graeme Smith has now raised questions over the fitness of Vernon Philander, stating that the fast bowler has been struggling to be on the field and it is frustrating to see a senior player struggling with fitness. During the 3rd Test at Oval, Philander had to leave the pitch mid-way due to a stomach problem. Although, pushing aside the pain he did come out to bat and tried saving South Africa from a defeat. Despite the effort, the Proteas lost the third Test against the hosts to trail 2-1 in the series. However, Philander declared himself fit for the fourth Test before being ruled out on the day of the Test after failing a fitness Test.

Smith had captained Philander from 2011 to 2014 and during his stint and believes that the captain needs to be stern towards the pacer. It’s also been reported that Smith wants Philander to focus on his fitness if he wants a prolonged career as he only plays Test cricket. He also said that he should take care of his off-field activities. Philander has had a big season of niggles.

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Smith thinks the Philander injury is frustrating

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, the veteran left-hander said, “This whole series, it’s been a struggle to keep Vernon on the field. It gets frustrating when you’ve got a senior player and an outstanding performer like him and fitness is becoming an issue. It raises questions about whether he is fit enough to be picked in the first place.”

Smith also added, “He needs to look at that, he needs to do a lot more work in his time away from the team to make sure this doesn’t keep happening.”

South Africa is currently missing former world number one and their most lethal bowler Dale Steyn owing to a shoulder injury. The injury woes for the Proteas now seem to be a pressing issue as in the ongoing fourth Test, Chris Morris was also ruled out.

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