Dale Steyn has been ruled out of South Africa’s World Cup opener against England on Thursday, with Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson confirming the paceman has failed to shrug off a shoulder injury.
The 35-year-old suffered the injury during the Indian Premier League and will not be risked at the Oval but South Africa hope to have him back in time to face Bangladesh in their second match on Sunday.
Steyn’s fellow fast bowler Kagiso Rabada was declared fit after a back injury, leaving Gibson with just one seamer spot to fill alongside the 24-year-old and Lungi Ngidi.
“Dale is not quite ready yet,” said Gibson on Tuesday. “He is not far away but he is not ready yet. We think with a six-week tournament there is no real need to force the issue so he won’t be available.
“We know he is close and is getting closer every day. We will give him as much time as he needs to get ready. I am trying to give a date but we are hoping if not Sunday, then certainly by India (next Wednesday).”
Hosts England are top of the one-day international rankings and are favourites to win their first World Cup but South Africa are one of several sides in form.
They won their first warm-up match against Sri Lanka by 87 runs before making a strong start to their second against the West Indies, only for rain to cut the match short