The Proteas skipper is set to be out for a long stint after requiring ankle surgery.
There is bad news for South Africa ahead of the last ever Champions Trophy tournament in England this summer, as Test captain Graeme Smith has been ruled out through injury.
Smith has been playing with English County Championship side Surrey of late, taking up his new role as skipper at the club for the next three seasons, but has had to fly back home to undergo ankle surgery.
“To have to head home so early in my time at Surrey is very frustrating,” the Proteas leader told the county’s website.
The 32-year-old has made four appearances for his new side so far in 2013, scoring one half-century in Division One and making 74 in their opening victory over Hampshire in the YB40.
Whilst the opener will be a huge loss to Surrey, the national team will also be looking on grimly as one of their most experienced players is likely to miss the Champions Trophy.
With the statement from the Oval saying that Smith will miss “a few months” after having the operation, it seems highly unlikely he will feature for the Proteas in the one-day competition.
The ICC tournament starts on June 6 as South Africa take on India at Cardiff and even if the Surrey captain’s side made the final he would still only have until June 23 to recover.
Smith is the most experienced Test captain in history, after leading his side out in a record 101 five-day matches – as well as once for the World XI – putting him nine ahead of second-placed Allan Border.