South African spinner Keshav Maharaj faces the danger of missing the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 to be held in India from October-November this year after his left Achilles tendon was ruptured while celebrating a wicket during the second and final Test against West Indies in Johannesburg, reported ESPNCricinfo on Saturday.
The Proteas' lead spinner could be out of action for six months at minimum and may not make it to India for the marquee cricketing event.
Maharaj suffered an injury while running to celebrate the dismissal of Windies all-rounder Kyle Mayers and was stretchered off the field and taken to a hospital. The scans revealed significant damage, putting him on crutches and a moon boot on his left leg.
Maharaj has featured in only 27 ODIs since his debut in the format in 2017 and has a total of 29 wickets in the format. He has a bigger role in the Test arena, in which he has taken 158 scalps in 49 matches. He has Test success in Sri Lanka, with figures of 9/129. Given that the World Cup is taking place in similar conditions, he might have had some chances of playing in it.
He will not be able to honour his contract with England county Middlesex, having signed for them to play in English County Championship and T20 Blast competition this year. He will be focusing on rehab instead.
Meanwhile, SA's next red-ball assignment is in December 2023 against India. Coming to the match, a long-awaited century by skipper Temba Bavuma and top-notch bowling spells by Gerald Coetzee helped South Africa clinch a 284-run win over West Indies in the second Test at Johannesburg on Saturday to end their ICC World Test Championship cycle on a high with a 2-0 series win.
The Proteas began the day with a lead of 356 runs over the West Indies, at 287/7, with Bavuma (171*) and Keshav Maharaj (3*) unbeaten at the crease.
A flurry of quick wickets meant that they were bowled out at 321, having added merely 34 runs to the overnight total. Jason Holder (3/48) and Kyle Mayers (3/46) were the picks of West Indies bowlers. Proteas ended their second innings with a lead of 390 runs. Wiaan Mulder (42) also contributed with a crucial knock, but Bavuma had outshone other batters by a large margin. Only he and Mulder were able to cross the 20-run mark.
However, an imposing target of 391 proved to be more than enough as West Indies' batting unit collapsed like a pack of cards in the second innings. Six West Indies batters fell to single-digit scores.
At the end of the first session, West Indies were in deep trouble at 34/6, and it seemed like they would fail to cross 100.
But Joshua Da Silva (34), Holder (19) and Alzarri Joseph (18) showed some fight lower down the order and helped them to 106.
Gerald Coetzee (3/37), Simon Harmer (3/45), Kagiso Rabada (2/19) and Keshav Maharaj (2/4) starred with the ball.
In their first innings, Windies was bundled out for 251 runs. They were reduced to 51/4, but knocks from Jason Holder (81*), Kyle Mayers (29), Roston Chase (28), and wicketkeeper-batter Joshua Da Silva (26) helped West Indies reach a respectable total. But however, even this was not enough as they trailed Proteas by 69 runs.
Gerald Coetzee (3/41), Kagiso Rabada (2/19), Simon Harmer (2/63) impressed with the ball and helped Proteas gain a slight advantage over the Windies.
Earlier in the first innings, SA was all out for 320 runs. Top-order batters Aiden Markram (96), Tony de Zorzi (85) and Dean Elgar (42) gave Proteas a platform to go for something massive, but Kyle Mayers (3/32), Alzarri Joseph (3/60) and Gudakesh Motie (3/75) reduced Proteas from 278/4 to 320 all out.
The only bad news for South Africa on the day was a freak mishap for Maharaj, which occurred while he was celebrating the dismissal of Mayers. The slow left-arm orthodox spinner hurt his left foot and had to be stretchered off from the ground.
The first Test between the two sides at Centurion had ended in an 87-run win for the hosts.
With this 2-0 series win, South Africa is placed third in the WTC standings.
They have now won 22 out of 32 Tests against the Men in Maroon.
Temba Bavuma won the 'Player of the Match' award for his match-winning 172 and 28 runs in the first innings.
Aiden Markram was adjudged as the 'Player of the Series' for scoring 276 runs in four innings at an average of 69.00, with one ton and a fifty. His best individual score was 115. He emerged as the leading run-scorer in the series.
Brief Scores: South Africa: 320 and 321 (Temba Bavuma 172, Wiaan Mulder 42, Kyle Mayers 3/46) defeated West Indies: 251 and 106 (Joshua Da Silva 34, Jason Holder 19, Gerald Coetzee 3/37). (ANI)