Dale Steyn likely to miss Champions Trophy opener

Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers said Dale Steyn’s injury situation was not looking good and the chances of him playing in tomorrow’s ICC Champions Trophy opener against India looked thin.

Steyn walked off the field in the warm-up match against Pakistan on Monday with back stiffness. An MRI scan later revealed it to be a mild swelling in a left-intercostal muscle. A late call will be made on his availability.

“It’s obviously not good, but we’ll reassess tonight and tomorrow morning and make a final call. It’s sort of a touch and go,” said De Villiers today.

“There are a few more games coming up. It’s not the one and only game so we would not like to get him out of the rest of the tournament.”

Adaptation has been De Villiers’ watchword throughout South Africa’s build-up towards the tournament. With India winning both their warm-up matches in contrasting styles, De Villiers was quick to admit India got the better of the conditions.

He also highlighted the importance of taking early wickets, which was South Africa’s downfall against Pakistan at the Oval on Monday.

“I think they’re probably the team that has adjusted better to the conditions. Both they and Australia were in trouble early on and they just had the skill to adapt and assess conditions early,” said De Villiers.

“I didn’t see the game at all, but judging from the scores, both teams were under pressure early on and India adapted a bit quicker. We’ll put emphasis on the first 15 overs of the game.”

Even with lack of experience, Indian captain MS Dhoni said South Africa could not be taken lightly at any stage. He added that South Africa had the ability of seamlessly replacing injured players.

“When it comes to the Champions Trophy, the best teams play, so I think none of the teams can be taken for granted,” said Dhoni.

“Even without Jacques Kallis, South Africa is still a very good side. There will be a few fresh players that have been part of the team for quite some time, but I think it will good exposure for them.”

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