Dale Steyn’s availability for the Bangladesh Test series suffered a knock after he ruled himself out of the opening round of Sunfoil Series fixtures.
Steyn, who has been out of action since November after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder during the first Test against Australia in Perth, has decided to rule out his Titans comeback for the time being as he finishes off his recovery.
‘I’ve decided not to play right now. I’m bowling fine, but I haven’t hit the full workload I’d need to handle four-day cricket or a Test, so I decided it was best not to play,’ Steyn told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday.
The 34-year-old hinted at focusing on the shorter formats for the time being in his fears of breaking down again. With the Sunfoil Series the only domestic cricket available until the ODI series against Bangladesh starts (15 October), Steyn, who is four wickets away from Shaun Pollock’s all-time South African Test-wicket tally, might have to drop down a level to get in some game time.
It was further evidence that Steyn will miss the Test series, and aim for the three-match ODI series and two-match T20 series before his T20 Global League stint with the Cape Town Knight Riders gets under way on 3 November.
‘Playing the four-day game would have given me a chance for selection in the Tests, but I don’t want to put myself or the team in a position where I pull up again. Some shorter cricket might be the better answer for a reintroduction.
‘I might just play some club stuff in Pretoria or Cape Town. It doesn’t really matter to me at what level it is, I just need some cricket, and I thought going from nothing to possibly bowling 30+ overs was a bit of a risk.’
The good news for South African cricket fans is that Steyn has no intentions of leaving the game anytime soon. He wants to carry on playing for ‘a few more years’.
‘It sucks, but I want to play for a few more years, not just till the end of October.
‘It’s been a frustrating time, but I want to play for a few more years and I’m confident I will. The longer stuff is too much right now, so I’ll wait for possibly the white ball to come around.’
Cape Town Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis admitted at an event in Johannesburg earlier in the week that he took a risk by bringing Steyn on board for the inaugural event, and will have to manage him carefully.
‘Having chosen him for the Knight Riders, I’ve kept a close eye on him. I was under a little bit of pressure from the owners asking “Are you sure?” He’s busy bowling seven overs a day at the moment, and doesn’t want to go into a four-day game upfront. He’s worried about bowling 18 overs in a day, so I think he just wants to ease into it a little bit more and make sure he’s 100% fit,’ Kallis said.
‘It’s a very mature decision he’s made and I think he will still have a massive impact this season. When he’s fully fit he’s as dangerous as any bowler in the world and he will be 100% at some stage. I know he’s as hungry as ever, he’s hungry to achieve and he will normally find a way to do that.’
The Proteas are likely to go into their Test series against Bangladesh with their familiar pace trio of Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, with Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier waiting in the wings. Philander is going to play for the Cape Cobras next week to get some overs under his belt.