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Morkel out of Champions Trophy

South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has been ruled out of the rest of the Champions Trophy with a thigh injury.

The 28-year-old suffered a strain while bowling in the Proteas' tournament-opening defeat to India in Cardiff yesterday and will be sidelined for around three weeks.

South Africa have called up all-rounder Chris Morris as a replacement and he will join the squad ahead of Monday's game against Pakistan at Edgbaston after receiving approval from tournament officials.

The loss of Morkel from the attack is another blow for captain AB de Villiers after paceman Dale Steyn was forced to miss the first match with a side strain.

Team manager Mohammed Moosajee said: "Morne had an MRI scan done on him last night and it confirmed a grade-one injury to his left quadriceps muscle.

"His recovery time will take almost three weeks because the scan also detected a tear to the connecting tissue that surrounds the muscle, which is called a myofascial tear, so that rules him out of the tournament."

South Africa will also miss Morkel's experience having gone into the tournament without heavyweight duo Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, due to injury an personal reasons respectively.

It is hoped 26-year-old Morris, who is uncapped at one-day international level but has represented South Africa in Twenty20 cricket, will link up with the squad in Birmingham this weekend.

A statement from the International Cricket Council read: "The ICC has confirmed that the event technical committee of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 has approved Chris Morris as a replacement player for Morne Morkel in the South Africa squad for the tournament."

Steyn's fitness will also be assessed in the coming days.

Moosajee added: "Dale, as we know, is a work in progress. The challenge for us is that we can only get him bowling once he is completely symptom-free.

"If you allow fast bowlers to bowl too early you can aggravate the injury and go back to square one.

"Brandon Jackson, our physiotherapist, is working hard on him and we are taking it day by day, we will get a better indication of where he is at tomorrow at our net session in Birmingham."

South Africa lost by 26 runs to India and face the prospect of premature elimination from the event if defeated in their second Group B game.

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