In a big blow to South Africa, pace spearhead Dale Steyn was Tuesday ruled out of the World Cup after failing to recover from a shoulder injury, a development that could hasten his international retirement.
South Africa have named left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks as his replacement after approval from the Event Technical committee.
There is hardly any chance of a return in forseeable future for the 35-year-old Steyn, who had sustained a second shoulder injury during IPL where he played a couple of games for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“The ICC has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has approved Beuran Hendricks as a replacement player for Dale Steyn in the South Africa squad for the remainder of the tournament,” a media release stated.
“Bowler Steyn has suffered a second shoulder injury which has not responded to treatment and has ruled him out of bowling for the foreseeable future. His replacement Hendricks is a left-arm fast bowler,” it further stated.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was understandably disappointed.
“Dale has struggled really hard to get back into the team. It’s been a tough two-year, two-and-a-half years for him and he would need support right now. It’s important that us as the team and the management make sure there’s things in place for him to assist him, to be there for him. He needs love at the moment,” Du Plessis said at the pre-match press conference.
“It’s a tough time for him. He’s tried really hard to get fit for this campaign. He was bowling unbelievably well in the lead-up to this tournament and the IPL he was at his best. Unfortunately, it happened there in the IPL in those two games that he played there,” the skipper said.
While he didn’t blame IPL but Du Plessis was thinking aloud what if Steyn wasn’t picked by the RCB as late replacement.
“Had he not been picked up for IPL, who knows where Dale would have been right now. We can’t control that. So it is important for me that we make sure that we are there for him because I know he’s been trying hard to make sure he is ready to try and make an impact on which will be his last World Cup.”
While the retirement looks imminent right now, team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said that there is still hope.
“I think he will be coming back. The challenge is to get him back home, to get him to see his rehab team, the focus will be very much on strengthening work around the shoulder, as we can well understand the shoulder is a complicated joint which moves into different plains.
“And once he gets the mobility in his shoulder close to where he was previously, I’m sure there’s every effort that he can come back,” the team doctor said.
The 2019 World Cup was supposed to be his last World Cup and this injury could well mean a sad end to the career of one of the greatest fast bowlers of modern era.