Alviro Petersen has replaced the injured Graeme Smith in South Africa’s Champions Trophy squad, dealing a blow to Somerset who will be without Petersen in the build-up to and during the competition.
Petersen is due to represent Somerset until the end of July, having extended his stay for the Friends Life t20 group stage, but will now be unavailable to the county for most of June. May 27 to June 24 is his likely time away, according to Somerset.
The top-order batsman has made an impressive start to the season, with two hundreds and two fifties in seven innings.
Smith was last week ruled out of the Champions Trophy by a stress fracture to his left ankle, which will also deny Surrey his services for much of the summer.
South Africa were already without another key player, Jacques Kallis, who ruled himself out of the tournament for personal reasons.
The International Cricket Council’s event technical committee today confirmed that Petersen, whose most recent of 17 one-day internationals was in the January 2012, will replace Smith for the Proteas.
Cricket South Africa selection convener Andrew Hudson said: “We have decided on a like-for-like replacement, and Alviro is the obvious choice in this regard. He is a specialist opening batsman and also brings some very useful experience on board following the loss of both Smith and Jacques Kallis.
“In addition he is in the form of his life, having made almost 500 runs in three England County Championship Division One matches for Somerset, including two centuries, at an average in the high 80s.
“With the tournament being played early in the England summer we envisage that bowling conditions will favour the seamers and getting good partnerships going up front is going to be paramount to success. He handled these conditions extremely well during our Test tour to England last year.”