Due to a “persistent” hip problem, Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of South Africa’s forthcoming three-Test series against India. Nortje hasn’t bowled since the Men’s T20 World Cup in November, and he’s currently dealing with a niggle and lacks the necessary bowling loads to be cleared to participate. Nortje is receiving rehabilitation, according to CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra, and hopes to be ready for the ODIs against India in mid-January.

Nortje’s absence is a major setback for South Africa, as he is the country’s leading Test bowler this season. Nortje has 25 Test wickets at an average of 20.76, six more than his nearest teammate, Keshav Maharaj.

The team, which also contains seven additional seamers, will not be replenished. After his return from the Kolpak system, which terminated with Britain’s exit from the European Union, the door is now open for Duanne Olivier to make a comeback. With 28 wickets at an average of 11.14, Olivier is the leading wicket-taker in the domestic first-class league.

Olivier is likely to bowl alongside Kagiso Rabada and one of Lungi Ngidi’s uncapped left-armers Marco Jansen, who hasn’t played competitively in five months. Beuran Hendricks, who has played one Test, and Glenton Stuurman and Sisanda Magala, all uncapped, are other options. South Africa’s side has begun final preparations for the series, which kicks off on Boxing Day, and has passed all of the Covid-19 tests so far.