Cape Town: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis will begin training on Wednesday as he seeks to prove his fitness ahead of the four-match home Test series against Australia starting on March 1.
Du Plessis missed the majority of the One-day International and Twenty20 series against India after picking up a fracture to his right index finger.
"He will start batting tomorrow and we are hopeful he will come through that and be available to captain the team for the first Test against Australia,” team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a news release from Cricket South Africa on Tuesday.
Two more key players are on course to feature in the first Test in Durban with AB de Villiers having fully recovered from a knee injury and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock over his wrist problem.
Middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma will play in a club game on Sunday following his recovery from a hand fracture and if he shows no ill-effects, will be available for selection for the first Test.
Seamer Dale Steyn, who is two wickets shy of becoming South Africa’s most successful bowler in Tests, remains a serious doubt for the first game of the series as he recovers from ligament damage in his foot.
"He is doing his running training and also increasing his bowling intensity," Moosajee said. "He will in all likelihood feature in the series against Australia, but the CSA medical team will want him to play some form of cricket before a Test match."
South Africa, who beat India 2-1 in a recent Test series, have not defeated the Australians at home since 1969-70. They have won their last three test series in Australia.