The Newlands Test between India and South Africa witnessed seam bowling at its best. Out of 40 dismissals, 37 were between speedsters. But the heel injury to Dale Steyn — who staged a comeback after a year — snatched the thrill out of the high profile series.
The 34-year-old pacer has been advised four to six weeks of rest. Dr. Shuaib Manjra, the head of Cricket South Africa medical committee, delved deep into the nature of Steyn’s injury.
“It was a freak injury, difficult to predict. I was the first person to assess him in the change room. We have done scans and we also saw a foot specialist. He has a small tear in his ligament and we got to deal with it,” he told Sportstar on Thursday.
It is unlikely that Steyn will be a part of the remaining Test matches, but he will be under constant monitoring. “It seems we are going to reassess him over a period of time to see how he does. Dale is a warrior. He has comeback from far more serious injuries,” Dr. Manjra seemed confident of the pacer’s return.
Steyn ticked all boxes while coming out of his shoulder injury in November last year. “Dale is a very disciplined in his rehabilitation and fitness drills. He is an incredible athlete. So far, he has done everything we expected him to do. Don’t forget that he also took two wickets in the Test match,” he added.
Steyn also created a magic moment for fans in the Newlands Test. He didn’t bowl after 17.3-6-51-2 but when South Africa was reduced to 130/9, the veteran limped out of the dressing room to everyone’s surprise. In fact, he faced four balls and remained unbeaten. “This just shows the personality and character of Steyn, who is ready to bat with a serious injury in his foot. He is a great competitor.
"He reminded us of the time when Graeme Smith had come out to bat against Australia with a broken arm. Dale also came out and put his body on line for the team. It was remarkable to see that,” said Dr. Manjra, who lauded the other seamers in the team for winning the Test for South Africa.
“They were all bowling at least 12 balls extra, in Steyn’s absence. It was a tough one. They came through and bowled beautifully. Vernon (Philander) was amazing.”
South Africa included Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi as replacements (for Steyn) for the second Test at Centurion, starting on Saturday. “The wicket at Centurion will also assist seamers,” he warned.
Since Steyn took the domestic T20 route in South Africa to mark his return to international cricket, seeing him bowl in the limited-overs series against India can’t be fully ruled out. Going by the prescription, he should be back in action within the ODI series in February.