South Africa’s Dale Steyn has been ruled out of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 owing to a second shoulder injury, the “shoulder impingement syndrome”, that hasn’t responded to treatment. Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks has approved as a replacement by ICC’s Event Technical Committee.
Steyn, who will be out of action “for the foreseeable future” according to an ICC release, hasn’t featured in any of the two World Cup matches or warm-up fixtures for South Africa since landing in the UK. The 35-year-old was ruled out of the opening match against England, with captain Faf du Plessis admitting that his side was prepared for him on the sidelines right from the start. “He was probably about 60 percent when the squad was picked, so we anticipated for this to happen, but a fit Dale Steyn makes our bowling attack a very, very strong one,” du Plessis had said on the eve of the England game.
South Africa still expected Steyn to at least be in the fray, if not fit, for the match against India. “Dale is getting closer every day,” Gibson had said on Monday. “He reckons he’s about 85%, and we have to decide whether 85% is good enough to play against India.” But Steyn’s shoulder continues to be a pain point ever since he underwent surgery on it in 2016. He was also ruled out of the India Premier League 2019 due to a shoulder inflammation, having featured in just two matches. He returned to South Africa and consulted a specialist, and a recovery plan was put in place to get him back to full fitness by May 19, when South Africa were supposed to depart for the World Cup.
“At the outset, Dale’s case has been unique,” South Africa Manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee, said on Tuesday (June 4). “We know that upon his return from the IPL due to shoulder discomfort, he had numerous scans done which didn’t reveal anything of significance, aside from chronic, what we call inflammatory changes involving the tendons of the shoulder.
“He was seen by three of South Africa’s top orthopaedic specialists, shoulder specialists, and we were reassured by the expert opinions that Dale was clear to play. His rehab and fitness regime continued at pace and the focus was to get him up to speed for the tournament. The plan was always to get him ready for the second or third game of the World Cup.
“However, upon our arrival into the UK, once he started bowling, a different problem emerged, what we call a shoulder impingement syndrome, and he consulted with an orthopaedic specialist in London a few days ago. He had an injection inserted into the problematic area which unfortunately did not resolve the symptoms. So a decision was made to replace him.”
Lungi Ngidi, on the other hand, has been diagnosed with a grade-one strain of a muscle involved in his left hamstring, and has been ruled him out for a week to 10 days. His injury presents a peculiar problem for South Africa, who have traditionally been strong in the pace department but now find themselves jostling for a fit set of seamers.
“I have said to you guys so many times that our X Factor as a team is going to depend on how brilliant our bowling attack is,” Faf du Plessis said. “At the moment, the height factors that Lungi and Dale, as two of those players that are not on the field.
“We haven’t had one game where we’ve had our strongest 11 playing on the field yet. So that is challenging. But, unfortunately, you don’t get a pass for having injuries. You still have to make sure your squad is strong enough. You try and plan to have back-up plans for when you do have one or two injuries.”
Hendricks, the 29-year-old left-arm fast bowler, now finds himself in the squad and will be joining his teammates in Southampton on June 5. He made his ODI debut against Pakistan in January this year, picking just the one wicket across two matches.
South Africa squad (updated): Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock(w), Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi, Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks