South Africa's World Cup 2019 campaign is off to a disastrous start, conceding two big losses against England in the tournament opener and then to Bangladesh. To add to the miseries, their premier fast bowler Dale Steyn has also been now ruled out of the 50-overs quadrennial competition owing to a shoulder injury. The veteran Proteas speedster sustained the injury while playing in the IPL 2019 and was undergoing treatment for the same.
However, Steyn has failed to recover in time and this is a vital blow to the Proteas' fortunes in this tournament. Left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks has been cleared by the ICC's Event Technical Committee as replacement for the veteran pacer. South Africa will be facing India later in the day at The Rose Bowl in Southampton.
The South African team management have been trying too hard to make Steyn available for the mega event, but they have eventually lost the fight against destiny. The 35-year-old was ruled out of the opening match against England, with captain Faf du Plessis admitting that his side was prepared for him on the sidelines right from the start. "He was probably about 60 percent when the squad was picked, so we anticipated for this to happen, but a fit Dale Steyn makes our bowling attack a very, very strong one," du Plessis had said on the eve of the opening game against England.
Dale's case has been unique
South Africa still expected Steyn to at least be in the fray, if not fit, for the match against India. "Dale is getting closer every day," Gibson had said on Monday. "He reckons he's about 85%, and we have to decide whether 85% is good enough to play against India." But Steyn's shoulder continues to be a pain point ever since he underwent surgery on it in 2016. He was also ruled out of the India Premier League 2019 due to a shoulder inflammation, having featured in just two matches. He returned to South Africa and consulted a specialist, and a recovery plan was put in place to get him back to full fitness by May 19, when South Africa were supposed to depart for the World Cup.
"At the outset, Dale's case has been unique," South Africa Manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee, said on Tuesday (June 4). "We know that upon his return from the IPL due to shoulder discomfort, he had numerous scans done which didn't reveal anything of significance, aside from chronic, what we call inflammatory changes involving the tendons of the shoulder.
"However, upon our arrival into the UK, once he started bowling, a different problem emerged, what we call a shoulder impingement syndrome, and he consulted with an orthopedic specialist in London a few days ago. He had an injection inserted into the problematic area which unfortunately did not resolve the symptoms. So a decision was made to replace him.”
Ngidi’s injury update
In another disappointing injury blow, Lungi Ngidi, has been diagnosed with a grade-one strain of a muscle involved in his left hamstring, and has been ruled him out for a week to 10 days. His injury presents a peculiar problem for South Africa, who have traditionally been strong in the pace department but now find themselves jostling for a fit set of seamers.
"I have said to you guys so many times that our X Factor as a team is going to depend on how brilliant our bowling attack is," Faf du Plessis said. "At the moment, the height factors that Lungi and Dale, as two of those players that are not on the field.