De Villiers, Morkel closing in on Proteas return


South Africa hope to have AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel available for the third and final Twenty20 against Sri Lanka later this month.

De Villiers has not played since damaging his left elbow playing in the Caribbean Premier League in July, a problem he underwent surgery to correct in September.

A bulging disc has kept Morkel sidelined since August, the fast bowler missing the Test series with New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Both men are nearing a return, though, and Proteas coach Russell Domingo hopes they will come through a one-day amateur game and be ready for the final T20 in Cape Town on January 25.

"AB and Morne Morkel are going to be playing a game on the 22nd for the Northerns amateur team," he told a media conference. "It is a one-day game.

"We will announce a T20 squad for the first two T20 games, hopefully that game goes well for them physically and we would like to include them for the last T20 game which is Cape Town before the one-day series with Sri Lanka."

Meanwhile, Duanne Olivier will replace Kyle Abbott for the final Test, the latter's national contract having been terminated after he penned a four-year deal with Hampshire.

Domingo added: "It is a very sad day that we are losing a player like Kyle Abbott, there is no doubt about it, he's been a phenomenal team player, a great professional, gives us great control with the ball ... he's everything a coach wants of a player.

"When Allan Donald stopped playing, Dale Steyn took his place. When Dale Steyn stopped playing for a while Kagiso Rabada stepped in, so South Africa have got a history of always producing wonderful young players. 

"So the new youngster coming into the squad [is] a guy by the name of Duanne Olivier, who's got some really good numbers and performances for the A side, I'm excited to see what he offers."