South Africa can win Tests in Dale Steyn’s absence: Kepler Wessels
Dale Steyn’s heel injury has ruled him out of the series against India but former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels has said the hosts can still win in his absence.cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2018 18:54 IST
Dale Steyn evokes hair-raising memories of a 5 ft 10 lithe pacer breezing in to bowl at serious speed. Walking out to bat with a small limp in his gait, knowing well that this will be his last contribution to a marquee series, was probably not what Steyn had pictured going into this Test. But it was a brave act nevertheless. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA UPDATES)
No one would have faulted Steyn if he had opted not to bat due to a left heel injury sustained on Saturday. But with South Africa in the dumps and AB de Villiers needing a partner, Steyn couldn’t have said no. Runs don’t matter in such situations. Intent does. By going out to put a prize on his wicket, Steyn almost did what Malcolm Marshall had pulled off single-handedly in the Leeds Test in 1984. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA SCORECARD)
A broken thumb had ruled out cricket for Marshall for at least 10 days but he still walked out wearing a smile and ready to help Larry Gomes complete a highly-deserving hundred, holding the bat with just one hand. Steyn’s stint lasted just four balls before de Villiers was caught in the deep. But even in those four deliveries, Steyn looked sure with his footwork, each firm defence extracting a rousing applause from the Newlands crowd.
It remains to be seen if Steyn will be fit in time for the Australia series due to start in March. Local journalists though feel since this wasn’t an aggravation of the shoulder injury that kept Steyn out of cricket for almost a year and he should recover in time. But the disappointment is unanimous.
“I was very disappointed when I heard that he got injured. When I saw him limping off the field and I discovered it was a bruised heel, I knew it was going to take some time for him to recover,” former West Indies pacer Holding was quoted as saying by iol.co.za.
Former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels felt Steyn will get the chance to overhaul Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 Test wickets. “I think he will be devastated. He came back from a very serious injury and he is a fantastic bowler. I feel sorry for him. He is a couple of wickets from becoming South Africa’s leading wicket-taker so I hope he will be fit enough and get an opportunity down the line,” Wessels told Hindustan Times, adding that Steyn’s injury is unlikely to have a huge effect on the outcome on this series.
“Whenever Dale Steyn is not playing, you will be disappointed. But South Africa have good bowling resources and they can definitely win Test matches with Philander, Morkel and Rabada and they also have a couple of bowlers coming in. So they are still a good attack,” he said.