Champions Trophy 2013 June 4, 2013

Injury concern for Steyn, de Kock joins squad as de Villiers' cover


A hat-trick of concerns descended on South Africa two days before their Champions Trophy opener against India on Thursday. Dale Steyn is in doubt for the match with a side strain, Quinton de Kock has unofficially joined the group as cover for AB de Villiers and first-choice spinner Robin Peterson suffered a blow to the left foot.

Steyn's injury appears to be the most serious. He could only bowl five overs in Monday's warm-up match against Pakistan at the Oval before he left the field in obvious discomfort. He was taken for an MRI scan which revealed "mild swelling in a left-intercostal muscle," according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee.

South Africa will take a call on Steyn's availability as late as possible to give the paceman as much time as they can to recover. Should he be ruled out, the side will be without their bowling spearhead whose form at the IPL (19 wickets in 17 games at 20.21) was promising. Rory Kleinveldt is likely to replace him to form a three-pronged seam attack with Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

While Steyn's case is straightforward, de Villiers' is more complicated. CSA did not state exactly why he needs cover in their statement. After clarification was sought by ESPNcricinfo, Moosajee revealed the captain is "absolutely fine" and said it was "always part of the plan" to include de Kock, because it would be logistically easier to have him around should de Villiers suffer a last-minute injury.

However, if de Kock needs to play he will still need approval from the ICC's event technical committee because he is not a part of the 15-man squad. According to Moosajee, de Kock was aware he would be in England even before he went to the IPL, where he played three matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad and scored six runs. His domestic franchise, the Lions, however, were not aware of any national call-up when contacted earlier this morning.

Worth remembering here, among the unclear circumstances surrounding de Kock's call-up, is that de Villiers has a history of chronic back problems which flare up after he has played for a long period of time. He came through a full IPL and took part in South Africa's two warm-up matches, against the Netherlands and Pakistan. He did not bat in the first match but kept wicket in both.

De Villiers did not appear to experience any problems apart from one incident when he addressed the media after the Pakistan game. Although not audible at the event, on recordings of the press conference he can he heard whispering "Eina" (Afrikaans for "Ouch") as he sat down. There may be nothing to that or it may explain why a nervous looking de Villiers chewed his nails for a significant part of the interaction.

Should he become unavailable, the side will be without their captain and most experienced batsman. Faf du Plessis, who is the Twenty20 captain, would most likely to step in with de Kock taking de Villiers' place behind the stumps and in the batting line-up.

Peterson's niggle is not a cause for worry. He was hit on the left foot while batting during the Pakistan match and could not bowl because of the swelling. He has responded to overnight treatment and should be able to play but South Africa have Aaron Phangiso in reserve, if Peterson is unfit.

South Africa's three group stage matches take place in eight days, so the severity of the injuries could significantly impact their hopes of making the semi-finals.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RAVINDER on June 5, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    @ gsingh7 on (June 5, 2013, 10:46 GMT) down bro.....I'm also from Punjab India but plz do not ridicule other teams.Just enjoy the cricket and support your team...not a difficult thing to do.

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    I wish him a Dale Steyn a speedy recovery and if he doesn't play I hope South Africa play as a unit and earn their first victory of this competition.

  • rock on June 5, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    @ siddharth_r2001

    'star' bowler Imran Tahir

    u got to be kidding urself giving him a special mention like Ajmal or Murali. who cares a new spinner like the then Tahir plays or doesnt play. After all he is a spinner playing against India in India who are good at spin.

  • Harmon on June 5, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    It would be a big big loss to SA if either of Steyn or ABD or both do not play tomorrow esp cos SA are already without Smith and Kallis. Taken together, 3 of these 4 might have been part of World XI (Tests or ODI) for the 3 years had it been chosen.

    From India's PoV, this will be a great chance to open their campaign on a strong note as we are known to be poor starters but it is also believed that India do not usually relish to be seen as favs. So India have to be a bit cautious and must not underestimate SA at any cost. The others in their team are equally capable of filling in the gaps.

    I would miss watching Steyn the most if perchance Steyn doesn't play. He is the one who gives a real edge to SA's attack. In his absence and with all due respect to M Morkel, SA's attack looks weak. Philander & Tsotsobe are very good too but any honest person would admit that with no Steyn SA's attack would be like full human jaw with no incisors.

    Could say the same for ABD & SA's batting too.

  • Anupam on June 5, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    No one can fill the place of Steyn. Alviro is not ideal for ODI. Elgar or Levi should replace him. Elgar, Amla, Ingram, FaF, AB, JP, Mclaren, Harmar, Morkel, H.Viljoen, Tsotsobe. Puttick is also a good option if AB don't play.

  • vishwas on June 5, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    just as much as i dont want styne to play against india, i want him to play against rest..... he is best around here....

  • I on June 5, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    I'm expecting Kleinveldt to make all the difference for the bowling attack, he's been in really good form with the ball. Were it not for him, I'd be worried for South Africa if Steyn is out; Morkel can be brilliant, in his 1 good ball out of every 8. Tstosobe is the same, except without the good ball. He was awful in the Pakistan series, picking up a wicket here and there off a wild swing to a full toss or a long hop. With Dhoni in the side, I'm backing India for the win here. If Pakistan also beat West Indies in their opening match, then that will set up the group for an intriguing second round

  • Sharky on June 5, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    @ Grant King on (June 5, 2013, 12:05 GMT). You right about JP.Duminy. Sorry, but I don't know how I forgot about JP. JP should then be in-place of JC.Cook. The team should then be :If D.Steyn, R.Peterson, AB De Villiers, G.Smith & J.Kallis can't play, then the Best 12 players should be : A.Pieterson, H.Amla, Q. De Kock, F.Du Plessis, JP Duminy, D. Miller, A.Morkel, J.Botha, R.Mclaren, V.Philander, M.Morkel 12th man S.Engelbrecht. Your 12th Man is only allowed to field. And for me S.Engelbrecht is South Africa's best fielder. He should always be 12th man in any format, unless 12th man is also allowed to bowl and bat in the future. Remember Engelbrecht's run-out wicket at Newlands against Australia in a Test Match?

  • arvin on June 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    most ipl players from all countries will not play against india for one reason or the other... it is pay back time for them for all the millions they are making from ipl... now they have to make sure dhoni led csk/bcci team wins champions trophy...

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    SuperSharky where is JP in your team? S Engelbrecht??? why make the protea spot so cheap. Fielder only????