Dale Steyn comeback unlikely for 1st India Test, says South Africa coach Ottis Gibson | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Dale Steyn comeback unlikely for 1st India Test, says South Africa coach Ottis Gibson

South Africa pacer Dale Steyn is all but out of the 1st Test against India to be played at Newlands in Cape Town, January 5 onwards.

cricket Updated: Jan 02, 2018 23:41 IST
Somshurva Laha
South Africa pacer Dale Steyn is all but out of the 1st Test against India in Cape Town.
South Africa pacer Dale Steyn is all but out of the 1st Test against India in Cape Town.(Reuters)

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson hinted Dale Steyn may not find a place in the team for the first Test against India starting here on Friday. Almost confirming that South Africa will field a three-man pace attack, a spinner and an all-rounder, Gibson said fielding Steyn in the first Test was a risk they are not willing to take right now.

“He has had a year’s layoff. I don’t think if we were to pick a three-man seam attack plus a spinner you would want to put him in that attack in case something happens and that leaves the team vulnerable, if he can’t finish the game,” Gibson told a press conference on Tuesday.

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Too risky

“That’s not to say he won’t finish the game but you don’t want to take that risk in the first game of the summer. He will come into the discussion but it depends on the formation of the team we put on the field,” said Gibson, adding that Steyn might get a game later in the series.

Steyn, 34, has not played a Test since he suffered a shoulder fracture during the Perth game against Australia in November, 2016. He made his first-class return in a warm-up game against Zimbabwe last month, but was not picked for the one-off pink-ball Test against the southern Africans.

“It’s quite likely to be a horses-for-courses series where you’re looking at three different sets of conditions. Down here on the coast, the wicket tends to dry out quickly so you might play an extra bowler. Further up into Highveld (Wanderers, 3rd Test venue), it might be different.

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“We’ve to take each set of conditions as we find them now and then pick the best team for them. It’s a selection headache but it’s a good headache to have, to have all the best players in the country fit and available to play,” said Gibson, confirming that Faf du Plessis will lead the team this series.

Lively pitch

Gibson, the former West Indies coach and England bowling coach, made no bones about getting exactly the pitch they wanted. “There’s a nice covering of grass on it. It looks quite hard and firm. We’ll only know how it plays once the game starts.” he said.

But he urged his bowlers to be disciplined.

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“With some grass on the wicket, sometimes bowlers can get carried away. You still have to put the ball in the right area, and that’s something I’m sure the Indians will be talking about. Playing in our home conditions, it’s something we will be talking about over the next three days as well, to make sure we get it right on the day. No matter how the wicket looks, you’ve still got to play well. We’re playing against the best team in the world, so we have to bring our A game.”