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Faf & Steyn injuries keep SA worried

Dale Steyn

Fatullah: Captain Faf du Plessis and bowling spearhead Dale Steyn are in doubt for South Africa’s World T20 opener, against Sri Lanka, on Saturday. Both the players have sustained hamstring injuries that kept them out of South Africa’s final warm-up match against Pakistan on Wednesday.

A call on their availability will be taken on Saturday afternoon, shortly before the match.

Steyn’s case was that of a mild aggravation of the right hamstring strain he suffered during the third and final Test against Australia. In South Africa’s first practice match against Bangladesh A on Tuesday, Steyn bowled 2.2 overs before leaving the field and has since been receiving treatment.

This follows a 10-day recovery period after Steyn initially sustained the injury on the first day of the Cape Town Test. He had bowled only 10.1 overs in the first innings and just three in the second before being left out of the T20 International matches versus Australia in order to complete his rehabilitation program.

“Steyn will continue to receive treatment from the physiotherapist, which will give him the best chance of recovery for the opening match,” Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a media release, on Wednesday.

There are further doubts about the availability of Du Plessis, who couldn’t play the warm-up tie versus Bangladesh A. “The medical team is cautious of rushing him too soon because of the explosive nature of T20 cricket and the back-to-back schedule of fixtures,” CSA’s release read.

“He will continue to receive extensive treatment and rehab, which will give him the best chance of regaining full fitness for the opening match.”

If Du Plessis is ruled out, AB de Villiers is likely to lead and bat at No.3. De Villiers was in charge of the T20 squad from June 2011 to December 2012 before stepping down because he felt overburdened for having to captain, keep wickets and batting at the top order. He remains South Africa’s ODI captain, but has been relieved of the gloves in the limited-overs formats.

South Africa’s other injury worry was Morne Morkel, who hurt his right shoulder during the Tests against Australia. Morkel did not play in any of the T20 Internationals against Australia, but appears to have recovered fully. He bowled his full quota of overs in the match against Bangladesh A and played in the warm-up match against Pakistan.