While Kyle Abbott has done everything to secure his place in South Africa’s T20 side, his spot is under renewed threat with the expected return of Dale Steyn.
Steyn will make his comeback to international cricket after a two-month injury lay-off in the three-match T20 international series against Australia and will play at least two of the games.
That means one of the bowlers will have to make way and if the decision is between Abbott and Kagiso Rabada, it is Abbott who is likely to miss out.
Abbott has played in South Africa’s last 14 T20Is but not one of them with Steyn, who hasn’t represented South Africa in this format since April 2014, at the previous World T20.
‘I always feel like a bowler that needs to bowl a lot and get into a rhythm, especially in a series,’ Abbott said at a press conference on Wednesday.
‘It’s tough to come in and play one game or two games here and there, so to get an extended run has built my confidence. I’m learning every game, and as a unit I think we have bowled incredibly well through Bangladesh, India and in the series against England, we are always learning.
‘To be there at the front of it all is nerve-wrecking at times but also very satisfying, especially when you come out on top defending at the end or striking upfront.’
He did admit that having Steyn back in the fold will be a ‘massive’ boost to the team, even though the bowlers have done well in his absence.
A big part of their success has been their bowling at the death, and Abbott credited bowling coach Charl Langeveldt with making a difference in that department.
‘He has been very good for us, especially at the death,’ he said of Langeveldt. ‘We have placed a lot of emphasis on the death bowling, even when we are bowling first, to stop momentum at the backend of an innings, and closing out when defending. It’s a massive part of the game.
‘We’ve got guys here that have been around: Imran Tahir is one of the leading T20 bowlers in the world, Chris Morris and David Wiese have played a lot of IPL and T20 cricket matches. We are identifying our roles and what each player needs to do at certain situations of the game and that has worked for us over the last 10 games.’