Dale Steyn out for England game but 'close to ready', says coach Gibson

28 May 2019 - 16:39 By Telford Vice
Dale Steyn and South African coach Ottis Gibson chat about tactics during the national cricket team training session at PPC Newlands on January 02, 2019 in Cape Town.
Dale Steyn and South African coach Ottis Gibson chat about tactics during the national cricket team training session at PPC Newlands on January 02, 2019 in Cape Town.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Dale Steyn won’t be part of South Africa’s attack in their Cricket World Cup opener against England at the Oval on Thursday.

The stalwart fast bowler‚ who is coming back from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of action since April 21‚ ran in off 15 paces at South Africa’s training session on Tuesday — but did not release the ball when he reached his delivery stride.

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“I just want to bowl it‚” Steyn said to conditioning expert Greg King‚ who was at the other end of the pitch.

Not so fast‚ Ottis Gibson said: “He’s not far away but he’s not ready yet. We think‚ with a six-week tournament‚ there’s no real need to force the issue just now.”

How would that affect the balance of the attack going into a game against the most potent batting line-up in the game?

“Well‚ we’ve still got 14 others. We’ll choose from those 14.”

When might Steyn be good to go?

“We know that he’s close and he’s getting closer every day‚ and we’ll give him as much time as we can to get ready.

“We’re hoping that‚ if not by Sunday [when South Africa play Bangladesh‚ also at the Oval]‚ then by the time we play India [in Southampton on Wednesday].”

Any thoughts of calling for reinforcements from home?

“We think he’s going to be OK‚ so we’re not thinking of a replacement just yet.

“Having said that‚ there are three or four guys working in our high performance centre to get themselves ready in case anything happens.”

Steyn is the only member of South Africa’s squad who didn’t play in either of their two warm-up games‚ against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Friday and West Indies in Bristol on Sunday.

The latter game was washed out before the bowlers could have a go‚ but Lungi Ngidi was close to unplayable in Cardiff for his return of 2/12 from six overs.

Andile Phehlukwayo cleaned up the Lankans middle order good and proper to take 4/36 from seven.

So‚ as Gibson said‚ South Africa have options — although they will hope Chris Morris‚ who went wicketless in four overs that cost 31‚ finds some consistency.

Gibson was also asked about another fast bowler: England’s Jofra Archer‚ who like South Africa’s coach — who has had two stints as England’s bowling coach — was born and raised in Barbados.

What‚ a nice man from the English press wanted to know‚ would Archer bring to England’s attack?

Gibson smiled‚ and said: “Did you ask ‘Trev’ [England coach Trevor Bayliss] that question?

“What he brings? I don’t know what he brings. I’m not in there anymore.

“He’s fresh and he’s obviously talented and he’s got a lot of pace and he’s from Barbados‚ so I’m glad that they picked him.

“He’s a very good kid. I’ve known him from Barbados when he was a youngster growing up there.

“So I’m really pleased for him. He’s got a lot of talent‚ so he’s bringing that. He’s bringing pace; he bowls quickly. And he’s a matchwinner.

“So hopefully he won’t have much of a say in this game‚ but then he’ll have a really good tournament once this game is over.”

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