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Firdose Moonda at The Oval
June 18, 2013
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn's participation in the Champions Trophy semi-final against England is in some doubt due to fitness concerns. The team management will take a late call on his inclusion on the morning of the match on Wednesday.
The fast bowler missed a day's training and did a lighter than usual load on subsequent days because of "stiffness in the groin area" according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee. However, South Africa captain, AB de Villiers, was confident of Steyn's inclusion in the playing XI on Wednesday.
"It looks like we've got a good chance [of playing him tomorrow]," de Villiers said. "He's taking another day off just to make sure we rest him really well. I said before that I don't believe we're lost without him. We can definitely beat England without him."
De Villiers conceded they are managing his workload as they have been playing a lot of cricket of late.
"He's got a few niggles around, which is very worrying, but we're going to do all we can to get him on the park tomorrow," he said. "He's close to 100%, he's running around. We didn't want to run him too much today because we knew he's one of the best in the world and he's got the skill to just rock up and do the business. He's working on his rehab making sure we give him the best chance to play tomorrow."
De Villiers discounted the fact that Steyn's absence would be a big psychological factor and said the team has enough to do well without him, which they have in the past.
"I don't think it's got anything to do with mental games, anything like that," he said. "He's good against any team in any format. We're still a very good ODI unit. We've won games without him and with him. It's a big knock-out game, and there will be a lot of pressure around, a lot of hype. Not having him on the side will be big for us, but then again, like I said, we're playing good cricket."
In case Steyn is declared unfit on Wednesday morning, South Africa will have the option of bringing in an extra batsman and play with a seven-four combination for the first time in this Champions Trophy, or give another chance to left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso. They may also consider playing four seamers with one spinner.
If Steyn is unavailable and South Africa still want to field four seamers, Rory Kleinveldt will be recalled to the starting XI. The other option would be to include Aaron Phangiso to give South Africa an additional tweaker or to bring in an extra batsman in Farhaan Behardien.
Steyn was said to be struggling a little after their last league game against West Indies on Friday. Moosajee also confirmed that the new concern for Steyn's fitness is not related to the side strain which kept him out of the first two matches against India and Pakistan.
Steyn bowled six overs in a rain-affected match and finished with 2 for 33 from six overs in a tied game which secured South Africa's place in the semi-final from Group B along with India. He has been under the careful watch of physiotherapist Brandon Jackson as South Africa hope to do all they can to ensure he plays.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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