London: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is to miss the first Test with England which gets underway on Thursday due to family reasons, Cricket South Africa announced on their website on Monday.
The 32-year-old batsman – who became only the fourth South African to score a century on his Test debut in 2012 – returned home for the birth of his first child last week, but will be unable to return in time for the opening match of the four-Test series.
"Faf’s wife gave birth to their first child last week but the difficult nature of the delivery has delayed his return to the UK," said South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.
"The mother and baby have settled at home but he will be unable to make it back in time to take part in the first Test match.
"He will link up with the squad in the UK later this week."
Opening batsman Dean Elgar – who has seven Test centuries to his credit – will captain the side in Du Plessis' absence.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) July 3, 2017
Right arm pace bowler Vernon Philander has been declared fit for the 1st Test, and is likely to return to the playing XI. Philander did not take part in the warm-up game against England Lions at Worcester as he was recovering from an ankle injury, which he picked up during his county stint with Sussex.
The Proteas already have lost the ODI and T20 legs of the tour. Furthermore they had a dismal ICC Champions Trophy, so the Test series that begins on 6 July will be their last bid to win any silverware in the ongoing England tour.