Dale Steyn is back in the Test team as soon as he has proved his fitness, says head coach Ottis Gibson.
The brilliant fast bowler, who needs just five wickets to become the most prolific wicket-taker in South African Test history, has not played any cricket since last November when he suffered a second shoulder injury. He believed he came back too fast from the first injury, and has taken his time rehabilitating his shoulder to take the pressure of his dynamic bowling.
He is expected to play a full part in the domestic T2o Challenge, which starts on 10 November, and a good showing there will be good enough for Gibson for selection for the Test summer, which starts on Boxing Day with a four-day Test against Zimbabwe. That is followed by tours by India and Australia.
‘He has got a lot of T20 cricket to play, and he has also got a lot of time where we can build up his workload and see that he is 100% fit,’ Gibson said. ‘He is Dale Steyn. He is not some average guy from down the road. He is one of the best bowlers the country has ever produced. If you look him in the eyes and you say, ”Dale are you sure you can make it?” and he says he can make it, then he is getting the opportunity.’
Gibson is also awaiting he return to action of Morne Morkel, who has been nursing a side injury.
‘Morne is pretty committed to the Proteas over the next couple of years,’ Gibson said. ‘Obviously, the World Cup is a big thing. He is well aware that there can be no guarantees with regards to that. When it comes to 2019, it will be form, fitness, conditions; that sort of thing. We had a good, honest discussion and he has committed his future to us over the next couple of years.’
Meanwhile, national captain Faf du Plessis may miss the entire T20 tournament as he recovers from an operation. Du Plessis was ruled out of the T20s against Bangladesh and he took the opportunity to have a shoulder operation for a long-standing concern.
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