Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Latest Injury to Dale Leaves Stain on Newlands Test

Dale Steyn’s long-awaited return to the international test fold got off to the perfect start. The Phalaborwa Express removed Shikhar Dhawan after just 14 balls during his first comeback spell when he took a catch off his own bowling after Dhawan had ballooned a pull after being rushed by Steyn’s skidding pace.

The roar of the Newlands crowd reverberated around Cape Town and could be heard on even the highest peaks of Table Mountain once Steyn had safely held onto the catch. The collective joy of cricket fans would have been shared throughout the world as Steyn got his reward after being out the game for 13 agonizing months.

The celebrations didn't stop there and Steyn wasn't done yet. South Africa’s premier fast bowler trapped Saha LBW for a duck on the second day and took his test wicket tally for South Africa to 419 scalps, only two behind leading wicket-taker Shaun Pollock with 421.

The highs of the second day at Newlands completely vanished after Steyn had indicated to his captain Faf du Plessis at slip that he was experiencing a problem in his foot and needed to abandon the bowling of his over to seek further treatment. The diagnosis left fans of the Proteas and Dale Steyn shattered as word came through that the fast bowler would be out for between 4-6 weeks.

It seems now Steyn will miss the remainder of the series against India as he begins yet another battle to regain match fitness. The blow to South Africa is a substantial one and leaves them in the lurch but they remain favourites to claim a series win still.

The talent pool in South Africa is vast with many good young quicks waiting in the wings. It may not be as easy but an overall victory will be what captain Faf du Plessis still has in mind.

Provided Rabada, Philander and Morkel remain fit, it looks unlikely that India will be able to overcome the fearsome trio. Steyn’s long-term future, however, is in more doubt than it has ever been and no one will be more aware of that than Steyn himself.

Has the clock stopped in his career or will Steyn try and make a return for the series against Australia in March? Being only 3 wickets away from becoming the Proteas all-time leading wicket-taker may play a part in his decision making but the selectors may not share his sentiment after another yet another breakdown.

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