Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn

The Titans named a decent 13 on Tuesday for their T20 game against the Knights in Kimberley on Wednesday, which is no surprise in a dressing room bursting with talents the size of AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Lungi Ngidi.

But the second-last name on the squad list will grab the most attention. There, hiding in plain sight, were two words many South Africans have been waiting to see on a team sheet for more than a year.

One of those words was Dale. The other was Steyn.

The last Steyn’s compatriots saw of him in action was in November 2016, when he left the Waca in Perth in clear discomfort after bowling 12.4 overs in the first Test against Australia. He had broken a bone in his shoulder and seriously injured three major muscles.

With that, Steyn’s march towards the five Test wickets he needs to break Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 for SA was put under doctor’s orders to mark time. That time has been marked. After surgery to insert a pin and months of rehab, Steyn is finally ready.

If all goes well, it is difficult to imagine him not reeling in Pollock’s total this summer against the Indians and Australians.

But Steyn will be the Knights’ problem on Wednesday — he will play, surely — and that means he will be Nicky Bojé’s problem. Whatever might the Knights coach tell his batsmen?

"What you tell them is you play the ball; you don’t tell them to play the person," Bojé told Business Day on Tuesday.

"Dale hasn’t played for a while. So he might be on song or he might not be."

Kimberley as a comeback venue for a star fast bowler only adds to the story. The pitch is as flat as they come, and the short straight boundaries mean batsmen get away with errors more often than bowlers.

What was Bojé’s advice for Steyn? "You’ve got to stay ahead of the game," he said.

"If you commit to bowling a yorker or the bouncer you must execute it."

Steyn, 34 and with 510 matches of all descriptions to his name — in which time he has bowled 38,758 deliveries of all descriptions since he made his first-class debut in October 2003 — will know that only too well. He will also know that nothing means more than delivery No38,759.

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