In a major blow to Team South Africa in the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2019, their speedster Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the marquee event. Steyn, South Africa’s fifth highest ODI wicket-taker of all time, withdrew from the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the same issue and has already missed the first two games of his team’s campaign at the World Cup.
36-year-old Dale Steyn had surgery for this problem in 2016 and has been plagued with issues with his shoulder before and since that procedure. He has had a recurrence of the problem and will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.
South Africa have started this tournament with two losses, with defeats to England and Bangladesh in their opening fixtures. They are due to take on India on Wednesday 5 June at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton. They will now be going into that important fixture, and the rest of this tournament, without Steyn.
“Dale has struggled really hard to get back into the team. It’s been a tough two-year, two-and-a-half years for him and he would need support right now. It’s important that us as the team and the management make sure there’s things in place for him to assist him, to be there for him. He needs love at the moment,” Du Plessis said at the pre-match press conference.
“It’s a tough time for him. He’s tried really hard to get fit for this campaign. He was bowling unbelievably well in the lead-up to this tournament and the IPL he was at his best. Unfortunately, it happened there in the IPL in those two games that he played there,” the skipper said.
While he didn’t blame IPL but Du Plessis was thinking aloud what if Steyn wasn’t picked by the RCB as late replacement.
“Had he not been picked up for IPL, who knows where Dale would have been right now. We can’t control that. So it is important for me that we make sure that we are there for him because I know he’s been trying hard to make sure he is ready to try and make an impact on which will be his last World Cup.”
Steyn will be replaced in the South African squad by left-arm quick Beuran Hendricks who made his ODI debut in January this year against Pakistan. Hendricks’ returns in ODI cricket have been limited so far, with just one wicket from two matches, but he has had more success in T20 Internationals where he has 16 wickets at an average of 18.93. Hendricks claimed a career-best T20I haul in January, also against Pakistan, when he took 4/14 at Centurion.
Hendricks has the ability to bowl with real pace, reaching 140kph at times, while also swinging the ball late. As a left armer he also offers some variation to the South African attack.
The news is a serious blow to South Africa, whose campaign has also been hit by injuries to two other fast bowlers. Anrich Nortje, who had originally been part of the World Cup squad, was ruled out of the tournament with a fractured thumb in the week before South Africa departed to the UK. Lungi Ngidi has also since picked up a hamstring strain, which is likely to keep him out of the next few South Africa matches. Vernon Philander is unavailable due to injury as well.
(With PTI inputs)