Cricket

Dale Steyn a doubtful starter for first test against India, hints Proteas coach Gibson

[caption id="attachment_60957" align="alignnone" width="580"]Otis-Gibson Proteas coach Otis Gibson during his press conference at Newlands Stadium on Tuesday.[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Proteas coach Otis Gibson on Tuesday hinted that Dale Steyn is not guaranteed a place for the first test against India starting from Friday. The former West Indian said, "We don't know just yet if we're going to see him (Steyn) this weekend coming, but depending on the make-up of the team he might well play.”

Steyn is making a comeback into the Proteas squad after injury forced him to stay away from the longer format of the game. According to Gibson, the team management doesn’t want to hurry with Steyn.

"He's had a year lay-off. That's not to say that he won't finish the game, but you wouldn't want to take that risk with the first game of the summer. We have to just look at the best combination of players that we have, and he will come into the discussion," said Gibson.

Talking about the composition of the side Gibson said everybody in his squad was fit and available, but the likelihood of Steyn dislodging one of Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel or Vernon Philander for a place on Friday seems highly unlikely.

But with the wicket at Newlands expected to be green, the possibility does exist for the Proteas to go into the fixture with four specialist seam bowlers spearheading their attack.

That could mean leaving out spinner Keshav Maharaj, but it more likely means going in without Andile Phehlukwayo or Chris Morris as the genuine all-rounder.

If either of those scenarios takes shape, then Steyn will come into the equation.

"We have to take each set of conditions as we find them and try and select the best team for the conditions we have," Gibson said during a press conference at Newlands.

He added, "Whatever happens we will pick the best team to win the Test match."

Amidst the doubts concerning Steyn’s availability, the home side will feel relieved as both captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock has fully recovered. Du Plessis was suffering from his back strain which kept him out of the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe, while Quinton de Kock is also fully fit after the hamstring strain he picked up in that match.

Meanwhile AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla did not train with the team today at Newlands as they are both suffering from a viral fever.

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