Dale Steyn may be forced to wait for his return to South Africa's Test side due to head coach Ottis Gibson's selection reservations.

The Proteas begin the first of three Tests against India at Newlands on Friday, with Gibson feeling the conditions in Cape Town make deploying the paceman a "risk".

Steyn, South Africa's all-time leading wicket taker in the longest format, was expected to make his comeback from over a year out due to a shoulder problem in the four-day match against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day, but pulled out due to illness.

It now appears the 34-year-old's wait for a return to the Test arena is set to continue.

"Dale Steyn is fit again, but I don't know just yet whether we will see him this week," Gibson told a media conference.

"He has had a year's lay-off. I don't think if we were to pick a three-man seam attack plus a spinner that you would want to put him in that attack, in case something happens and he leaves the team vulnerable if he can't finish the game.

"That's not to say that he won't finish the game, but you don't want to take that risk in the first game of the summer.

"We have to look at the best combination of players we have, and he will come into the discussion."