Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2018: Tabraiz Shamsi leaves tour after first Test
- The left-arm wrist-spinner has returned home due to unspecified family reasons.
After suffering a comprehensive thumping at the hands of Sri Lanka in the opening Test at Galle, South Africa's fortunes in the two-match series could just become even harder. Left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is highly likely to miss the second Test at Colombo.
Shamsi has returned home from Sri Lanka owing to unspecified family reasons. It is understood that no date has been set for his return into the squad. Having been named in the ODI squad too, the 28-year old spinner was tasked with playing a significant role in the tour to the island nation.
In case Shamsi does not comeback in time, the Proteas could offer a Test debut for leg-spinner Shaun von Berg. With Keshav Maharaj locking his spot in the playing eleven as the team's premier spinner, the 31-year old could make his maiden international appearance at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
Shamsi, who had made his Test debut against Australia at Adelaide in 2016, appeared for the second time in the format during the series opener at the Galle International Stadium. On a dry track deteriorating with almost every over, he only managed to pick four wickets at the cost of 128 runs across both innings.
Considering that the conditions are unlikely to change in Colombo, South Africa are poised to drop one of their three world-class seamers and retain a second spin option. While such a move is predominantly aimed at strengthening their batting lineup, the inclusion of von Berg could also tempt the team management to test the tide with five bowling options.
From 96 first-class matches, von Berg has complemented his tally of 345 wickets by scoring 3474 runs at an average of 28.71 with five centuries. During the warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board XI, he picked up South Africa's first two wickets and also added an unbeaten 18 to the batting scheme of things.
Shamsi had stormed his way into the Test eleven by accounting for five Sri Lankan batsmen in that particular warm-up game. Even though skipper Dinesh Chandimal continues to remain unavailable for the hosts, the left-arm wrist-spinner's likely absence could pose a challenge for South Africa when the second Test begins on Friday.Published 17 Jul 2018, 02:28 IST