Olivier is the leading wicket-taker in SA’s domestic first-class competition, with 28 victims at fewer than 12 runs per victim, and Warriors fast bowler Jansen did not enjoy best of starts to the Test, but did show glimpses of promise.
However, that was not enough to quell a public backlash, questioning the merits of playing him ahead of Olivier, who was assumed to be fit for action.
On Monday, Mpitsang broke the silence, offering that Olivier had suffered lingering effects of having tested positive for Covid-19 and that he was also nursing a slight hamstring injury.
“Duanne Olivier is healthy and well, but did return a positive Covid-19 test result a number of weeks ago, which forced him to quarantine and took time away from his training ahead of the current Betway Test series against India,” Mpitsang said.
“This [Covid-19] did take place while he was away with the intention to spend time with his family and his work loads were not where the selection panel would have wanted them to be by the time he entered the team bubble ahead of the first Test match.
“He picked up a hamstring niggle during the two-day, inter-squad match at the start of the camp and the selectors did not want to risk him unnecessarily when there are two more Test matches to think about.”