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Dale Steyn unlikely to play first Test against India

Steyn hasn't played a Test since November 2016.


Steyn hasn't played a Test since November 2016
Steyn hasn't played a Test since November 2016

What's the story?

Clutching his shoulder and languishing on the sidelines, Dale Steyn has been waiting a while for his much awaited international comeback. However, his return to the Test whites seems to have been stalled further, with head coach Ottis Gibson deeming him to be a doubtful starter for the first India-South Africa Test.

"Dale Steyn is fit again. But I don't know just yet whether we will see him this week. He has had a year's layoff. I don't think if we were to pick a three-man seam attack plus a spinner that you would want to put him in that three-man attack, in case something happens and that leaves the team vulnerable if he can't finish the game," Gibson said.

In case you didn't know...

A shoulder injury, a broken bone in the right one specifically, has suspended his international career for more than a year now. The injury, sustained during the Perth Test against Australia in November 2016, has kept him out of international cricket ever since, leaving him stranded five scalps away from overtaking Shaun Pollock's record for most wickets.

The heart of the matter

In a squad that features Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris, a borderline fit Steyn might not be able to make it to the playing XI. Gibson added that although he is likely to finish off a game if he gets to play it, they wouldn't want to risk such a scenario in the first Test of the summer.

What's next?

The first game of the series begins on January 5, slated to take place in Cape Town.

Author's take

It's been more than a while since fans last saw the image of cent percent fit Steyn hurling cannons at batsmen. It is commendable that, at 34, Steyn has enough in him to be able to challenge for a place in a well-stocked bowling larder.

However, given that his return has been stalled on a few occasions previously, the management seems to be aiming his return for, perhaps, Centurion or Johannesburg, where the conditions are drier, and an extra pacer might be accommodated.

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