Dale Steyn is an asset South Africa would want available at their arsenal during the upcoming home tour against India. The right-arm seamer holds a tremendous record in Test cricket. In 85 matches, the 34-year old has taken 417 wickets at an average of 22.30. Because of his statistics, selectors are keen to bring the bowler on board for the series. But here is the catch: Steyn has been away from the long form of cricket for over a year.
Steyn played his last Test for Proteas against Australia in November 2016. After suffering a should injury, the fast bowler was sidelined for almost a year from all forms of cricket. In a bid to give some momentum to the bowler before the all-important series in India, Steyn has been named as part of South African Invitational XI for the three-day-night match at Paarl on December 20 against Zimbabwe. Other players, who have been named in the squad include AB de Villiers, Chris Morris and Temba Bavuma.
The match will pave way for Steyn and Morris to prove their fitness levels and make a case for themselves for a contention to be included in the team for the one-off Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Port Elizbeth which starts on December 26. De Villiers, who went on a year and half long hiatus from Test cricket will also look to put a case for himself.
Speaking to reporters, South Africa’s selection convener Linda Zondi said, “Chris and Dale both missed the first five rounds of the Sunfoil Series through injury while AB was only available for one match. This is an ideal opportunity for all three to get back into the multi-day arena. Temba only got limited batting time during the Test series against Bangladesh because of the dominance of our top order and we feel he will benefit from spending more time in the middle.”
Zondi further added that the matches will provide an opportunity for the selectors to explore the talent available at development pipeline. “These matches also provide opportunities to explore our talent development pipeline. We were very pleased with the way a similar squad performed against Bangladesh when they managed to lead on the first innings with Michael Cohen, Shaun von Berg and Zubayr Hamza being among those who excelled and they will all get another opportunity,” he said.
The series between India and South Africa starts on January 3 and will have three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20I. India have already named their squad for the Test series but the Proteas have not yet made an announcement on the squad.