Four winters ago, one name kept the Indians on their toes before boarding the flight to South Africa. Each net session looked like a semester to pass the Dale Steyn test. Still, the fiery pacer created havoc on that tour — 3/25 and 3/17 in the two ODI matches, followed by a 6/100 and 3/47 in the second Test, all won by the host.

It seems there wouldn’t be much of a change when the Virat Kohli army lands in South Africa next month. Steyn, who had suffered a shoulder injury in the Perth Test against Australia last year, has recovered.

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Dr. Shuaib Manjra, the head of Cricket South Africa medical committee, confirmed that Steyn and Morne Morkel, who was out due to a side strain since October, will be fit before the series against India. “Steyn has started playing . He played three games for the Titans in our domestic T20 competition. We are resting him for a while so that he can come back and play international cricket. His injury is virtually over and he is ready to play. At the moment, we want to ensure that he is not over-bowling and coming back too much, too soon. Steyn will probably come back and bowl in the knockout stages of the T20 competition,” he told Sportstar.

Steyn finished with figures of 2/16, 1/20 and 1/25 in the three games he played.

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“Morne still has the injury but he should be back to playing in the first week of December,” added Dr. Manjra.

The Proteas functioned without their premier fast bowlers for an extended period. Vernon Philander and Chris Morris remained out of action since July due to back injuries. But they are set to be back too. “All of our bowlers should be ready before India gets here. Don’t be too happy about it,” warns Dr. Manjra.

“Vernon is bowling, Wayne Parnell is coming back to bowl and Morris is close to coming back to bowl as well. Morkel and Steyn will surely be available for selection for the India series,” he reiterated.

The South African bowlers will be tested on the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe at St. George’s Park. The day-night Test will also inaugurate the four-day format. “We will try out Dale, Morne and Vernon in the Boxing Day Test if possible. It’s the last Test before India heads here,” reasoned Dr. Manjra.

India will commence its tour with a warm-up match at Boland Park on December 30. The first Test starts on January 5, 2018 at Newlands, Cape Town.