Dale Steyn’s planned return to Test cricket has been put on hold yet again after the South African paceman withdrew himself from the four-match series in England, which gets underway on July 6.
Steyn has not played a game since injuring his shoulder after bowling 12.4 overs in the Perth Test against Australia in November last year. He was named in the South Africa A squad for two four-day games against England Lions, and based on how he held himself there, the national selectors were to take a call on his selection for the Tests.
Steyn, who has had surgery on his shoulder, said his recovery was on track, but he would need more time to be match-fit.
“My recovery is going well but it is taking a little longer than I expected it to,” Steyn said at Cricket South Africa’s Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday (May 13). “I am able to do a lot of things, like running, hiking and gym work, but bowling is not one of them, and I won’t be ready in time.”
Steyn, five wickets away from surpassing Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Tests, said he was now eyeing a comeback during the home series against Bangladesh in September, but would have to play a few representative games before that to prove his fitness.
“Obviously, one of the reasons for me playing with the ‘A’ side was so that I could get some match-fitness before the Tests. So, before that Bangladesh series, I will need to play a bit,” he added. “We have to understand that fast bowling is not something normal people do, so it’s going to take time. Normal people do things mostly below the shoulder line; it’s unusual to have something above the line except for things like bowling and tennis. I just have to be patient.”
Steyn, though, said if he felt better, he might sign a short-term contract with one of the counties and play a few games in England’s domestic season.