Dale Steyn has a good chance of playing in tomorrow’s ICC Champions Trophy semifinal against England at The Oval, Proteas’ ODI captain AB de Villiers has said.
Steyn, who missed the two opening games because of side strain, bowled six overs in Friday’s game against the West Indies without undue discomfort, but it was reported that he was struggling a bit towards the end of his spell.
While the paceman had a clean bill of health on his last tour of England last year, his 2008 tour was cut short by injury. On that occasion the Proteas were able to clinch the test series without his services.
In his absence in the Champions Trophy, the bowling attack was taken to the cleaners by Shikhar Dhawan and the rest of the Indian batting line-up in their opening game.
They brought it back nicely in the second game against Pakistan, with Steyn taking the key wicket of Marlon Samuels on Friday, just as the West Indies seemed to be running away with the game.
In the warm-up in Cardiff he bowled at full speed off a short run-up while in London he was content with light exercises and stretches. The Proteas also lost Morne Morkel in the opening game against India but they have had a clean bill of health since.
De Villiers said they were happy with Steyn’s progress, but as their key fast bowler with an excellent record in England, he needed to be monitored carefully.
However, he said it would not be a crisis if they go into the game without his services.
“We know he’s played a lot of cricket of late. He’s got a few niggles around, which is very worrying, but we’re going to do all we can to get him on the park tomorrow. He’s close to 100%, he’s running around. We didn’t want to run him too much today because we knew he’s one of the best in the world and he’s got the skill to just rock up and do the business,” De Villiers said.
“We’ve won games without him and with him. It’s a semifinal game. It’s a big knock-out game, and there will be a lot of pressure around, a lot of hype. Not having him on the side will be big for us, but then again, like I said, we’re playing good cricket and we’re confident we can beat England without Dale.”
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