South Africa’s Dale Steyn not ready for Tests, unlikely for Bangladesh series

South Africa pacer Dale Steyn has said that he is not ready to play Test cricket and is unlikely to be available for the two-Test series against Bangladesh at home.
Dale Steyn of South Africa has struggled with his shoulder since last November.(Getty Images)
Dale Steyn of South Africa has struggled with his shoulder since last November.(Getty Images)
Published on Sep 14, 2017 04:29 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByHT Correspondent

Dale Steyn may not feature in the upcoming Bangladesh Test series after the South African said that he doesn’t feel fit enough to play long form cricket just yet after a shoulder injury sidelined him in Perth last year.

Steyn had initially planned to get back to competitive cricket during the opening round of first class fixtures next month when Titans’ take on Dolphins but felt it would put too much pressure on him.

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“I’ve decided not to play right now. I’m bowling fine but I haven’t hit the full workload I’d need to handle four-day cricket or a Test so I decided it was best not to play,” Steyn was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on Thursday.

Although it would dent South Africa’s plans of getting their star player back in the side, it’s probably a justified call. It was in his return Test against Australia in November 2016 when Steyn had suffered the injury to his shoulder. Thus, a comeback too soon might actually prove fatal once again and Steyn doesn’t want to risk his chances.

“Playing the four-day game would have given me a chance for selection in the Tests but I don’t want to put myself or the team in a position where I pull up again. Some shorter cricket might be the better answer for a reintroduction,” Steyn added.

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“I might just play some club stuff in Pretoria or Cape Town. It doesn’t really matter to me at what level it is, I just need some cricket and I thought going from nothing to possibly bowling 30+ overs was a bit of a risk. It sucks, but I want to play for a few more years, not just till the end of October.”

That certainly keeps the door open for him to feature in South Africa’s limited-overs fixtures against Bangladesh — three ODIs and two T20Is. And even if he opts to sit out of them, Steyn should regain full fitness by the start of the Global T20 in which he would play for Cape Town Knight Riders. Former South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, coach of the T20 franchise, however backed Steyn’s call.

“Having chosen him for the Knight Riders, I’ve kept a close eye on him. He’s busy bowling seven overs a day at the moment, and doesn’t want to go into a four day game upfront. He’s worried about bowling 18 overs in a day, so he just wants to ease into it a little bit more and make sure he’s 100 percent fit,” Kallis had recently said at an event.

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“It’s a very mature decision he’s made and he will still have a massive impact this season. When he’s fully fit he’s as dangerous as any bowler in the world and he will be 100 percent at some stage. I know he’s as hungry as ever, he’s hungry to achieve and he will normally always find a way to do that.”

Although the squad for the Bangladesh series will be named after the domestic fixtures conclude, Steyn might not feature either way. In his absence, the Proteas are expected to opt for the existing trio of Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.

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