Philander has the best record of all the current Proteas bowlers in the longest format having taken 171 wickets in just 46 Tests at a remarkable average of just more than 22.
The allrounder underlined his importance to the Test side when he picked up the man of the match award as South Africa beat England in the second Test at Trent Bridge after contributing 54 and 42 with the bat and taking five wickets in the game.
The Cape Cobras player though went into the four-match series with an ankle injury and passed a late fitness test to play in the game at Lord’s while he was severely hampered in the third match with a stomach ailment.
Philander then missed the final Test at Old Trafford due to a back injury as the Proteas suffered a three-one series defeat.
Du Plessis said after the Old Trafford loss: “It’s fair that you need to play a lot of cricket for your country and be available for selection and Vern accepts that.
“If you’re only playing one or two Test matches and then off for one or two… there have just been too many times when we as a team go, gulp, ‘Vern might be injured again’. So he’s taken it on board from a fitness point of view.
“We have important series coming up, not that we play series that are not important, but India and Australia at home, it’s eight Test matches and he needs to be fit to get through all of them.”