Knights braced for Dale Steyn comeback
Reeza Hendricks‚ Mangaliso Mosehle and any other batsmen in the visitors’ dugout in Centurion on Sunday can rest assured — they won’t be Dale Steyn’s guinea pigs.
The Titans will host the Lions in the first round of the T20 Challenge on Sunday‚ which on its own shouldn’t grab big headlines.
But it will because it could mark Steyn’s return from more than a year on the sidelines with a serious shoulder injury.
Except that it won’t.
“I’m joining the Titans but I’ll have a couple of days in the nets first with the guys‚” Steyn said.
“I’ll play the second game in Kimberley for my comeback.”
That means the focus shifts to next Wednesday‚ when the guinea pigs will be David Miller‚ Theunis de Bruyn and whoever else the Knights see fit to toss into the fray.
Kimberley’s flat pitch and short straight boundaries will tilt the balance away from Steyn‚ but not by much.
Likewise‚ the fact that Steyn won’t be able to let fly for more than four overs isn’t much of a blessing for the batsmen.
He has taken four wickets in an innings four times in his 176 T20s‚ and he claimedhis career-best of 4/9 against West Indies on another flat pitch: St George’s Park.
Only nine times in the 631 T20 internationals yet played has a bowler claimed as many or more wickets for fewer runs.
Steyn’s success on that mad day/night in Port Elizabeth was achieved was with the help of prodigious swing and the Windies’ lack of focus in a game in which they chased only 59.
It was also almost 10 years ago; a time when Steyn seemed impervious to the kinds of injuries that have struck him in recent seasons.
But what hasn’t changed is that he is still Dale Steyn‚ and that will count for a lot in Kimberley next Wednesday.