Dale Steyn. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PUNIT PARANJPE
Dale Steyn. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PUNIT PARANJPE

Dale Steyn has ruled himself out of SA’s Test series in England in July after failing to recover fully from a shoulder injury.

The champion fast bowler has been sidelined since November‚ when he fractured his shoulder for the second time in 13 months during the first Test of SA’s series in Australia.

He was booked off for up to six months, but on Saturday he said he would remain out of the equation beyond that deadline.

"My recovery is going well but it is taking a little longer than I expected it to‚" Steyn said.

"I am able to do a lot of things — running‚ hiking‚ gym work. But bowling is not one of them and I won’t be ready in time."

SA found ways to win Test series against Australia‚ Sri Lanka and New Zealand without Steyn. But England in England will be their toughest assignment since their tour to India in 2015.

And Steyn was the deadliest bowler on either side on SA’s last tour to England in 2012‚ when he took 15 wickets.

He had been due to play in two matches for SA A in the UK in July to prove his readiness for the Tests‚ but has since retrained his international comeback sights on the home Test series against Bangladesh in October. "One of the reasons for me playing with the A side was so that I could get some match fitness before the Tests‚" Steyn said.

"So before that Bangladesh series I will need to play a bit."

That could happen during a limited-overs tournament between the A teams of SA‚ India and Australia — or on the county circuit.

"SA will be playing a Test series in England and maybe at some ground down the road Dale Steyn will be playing for another team‚" Steyn said.

Even though his shoulder was pain-free his journey back to full fast-bowling fitness was far from complete.

"I’m working on little muscles at the moment and when I start bowling again it will be off one pace‚" Steyn said.

"Then two paces‚ three‚ four … we have to understand that fast bowling is not something normal people do, so it’s going to take time. I just have to be patient," he said.

And so say millions of other South Africans. Happily for them‚ their team are not short of quality pace bowling.

With Kagiso Rabada already established‚ Duanne Olivier on the up‚ Morné Morkel back from injury and Chris Morris blooming late‚ the stocks are high.

But Vernon Philander — another key to SA’s triumph in England in 2012 — needs to recover from a groin injury in time to lead the attack. With Steyn out, ensuring Philander’s fitness must be a prime focus.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock was named SA’s Cricketer of the Year‚ Test Cricketer of the Year‚ ODI Cricketer of the Year‚ Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year at Cricket SA’s awards function in Johannesburg on Saturday.

TMG Digital

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