London: Veteran South African pacer Dale Steyn won’t be ready to play the team’s World Cup opener against hosts England. Coach Ottis Gibson confirmed on Tuesday that the 35-year-old won’t be fit in time for the tournament opener that takes place at The Oval on Thursday.
Gibson also said that Steyn could be sitting out of the second match too and South Africa are hoping he will be fit to play in their third league game against India. “He’s not quite ready yet. He’s not far away … but not quite yet.
“We think with a six-week tournament, there is no real need to force the issue,” Gibson told reporters at the end of the team’s training session on Tuesday.
“We know that he is close and he’s getting closer every day. We’ll give him as much time as we can to get him ready. We hope that if not by Sunday, then by the India game.”
Steyn had aggravated a long-standing right shoulder injury during his sting with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the recently concluded 2019 season of the Indian Premier League. He has not featured in any of South Africa’s pre-World Cup warm-up games. While Steyn was part of the 15-man squad for the first match, South Africa batted first and the game was eventually washed out.