TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THAT Dale Steyn is only weeks away from bowling again will hearten South Africans, but not as much as the fact that he has made peace with missing this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
For one of the most sought after players in the game who commands a fortune for his services, that approach could be key to extending his time in a South Africa shirt.
Steyn, who broke the same shoulder for the second time in a year during South Africa’s tour to Australia early in November, is in recovery from an operation a month ago in which the joint was repaired and strengthened by the insertion of a pin.
At the time of the surgery South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee, who is also the side’s doctor, said Steyn should “expect a minimum six-month rehabilitation period before he can start any form of bowling”.
But the fast bowler was hopeful of a less bleak prognosis.
“They say the first two to three months is just the healing phase but by the end of February I’ll be able to do things like light bowling and start swimming,” Steyn said.
Currently his options for physical activity were limited.
“I’m supposed to be doing spinning but I find it so boring,” he said. “But in less than two weeks I can start running.”
Not that Steyn was complaining too much.
“It’s actually really cool,” he said. “I haven’t had a long break like this in a good few years. Every season I go in with something wrong. And we hide them well. We’re all cricketers, everyone’s playing with something.
“It will be nice to go into a season, starting in June or whatever, confidently knowing that I’m actually strong and in a good place.”
June? So, along with the series in all three formats against Sri Lanka, Steyn will miss the test, one-day and T20 tour to New Zealand as well as the one-day rubber in England.
But he might be back for the Champions Trophy in England – South Africa’s first match is on June 3 – and their test and T20 rubbers there.
If Steyn is out until June he will miss the IPL, which will run from April 3 to May 26 and comprise 72 matches.
“I don’t think I’ll get to any of that stuff – that’s realistic,” Steyn said. “It’s all for South Africa.”
All together now: Amen.