Concern over Dale Steyn’s hamstring twinge

2008-12-08 00:00

Cape Town — Proteas strike bowler Dale Steyn has a hamstring problem and will miss the tour opener against Western Australia in Perth on Thursday.

That was the disconcerting news to come out of the South African camp no more than a day after their arrival on Australian soil for a three-Test series.

Steyn, the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year and leading wicket-taker in the calendar year thus far, is likely to be replaced by Monde Zondeki for the one-day match at the Waca.

The injury is a legacy of the recent Bangladesh series.

“It’s nothing serious,” Smith said. “We are just building him up into the first Test.

“I don’t think he’ll play the first game.

“I think we’ll look to probably play him in the two-day game.”

Unfortunately for the South Africans, the two-dayer (Friday and Saturday) comes immediately after the one-day match, so there is not even a day or two in between to allow for further recovery by Steyn.

And the Proteas will be reluctant to thrust him straight into the first Test from December 17 without having had any opportunity at all for proper warm-up match experience in local conditions.

Zondeki is intended as the main back-up choice in the event of injury to any of Steyn, Makhaya Ntini or Morne Morkel, so he will presumably deputise for Steyn in the one-day match, which will not feature over-limits for the bowlers.

For all the confident talk of Steyn being fit well in time for the first Test, there is sure to be some nervousness around his injury: he is considered a must for the expected hard and fast Waca track for the opening Test.

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