Dale Steyn’s return to Test cricket after 13 months on the sidelines ended in further heart-break when he picked up a freak heel injury during India’s first innings of the Cape Town Test last week. The injury has ended his interest in the series, with doctors predicting a recovery period of between four and six weeks.
Steyn, 34, needs just three wickets to become South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, and allayed any fears about a premature end to his career, indicating that he would be back in action six weeks hence.
The muscle tear in his left heel didn’t prevent him from hobbling out to bat in South Africa’s second innings during their 72-run win, but Steyn is currently using crutches.
“I’m on the crutches because I’ve got a no bearing weight on the leg for a while, at least two weeks, which makes it seem worse than it actually is,” Steyn told Sony ESPN, the official broadcaster, on Monday (January 9).
“But it’s right underneath the heel, so it’s extremely sore to stand on or step on. As fast bowlers, we land on that front foot pretty often. So I’m going to have to give it time to recover – six weeks, and I’ll be up and running again.”
South Africa’s next Test assignment is at home, against Australia in March-April, and it is that series that the charismatic paceman is targeting for his comeback.
“That is the plan,” he said. “Next two weeks, nothing on my feet. Stay off my feet. After that, I’ll start walking around, and in about four weeks, I’ll start running and then look to start practicing again in six weeks. That’s a long time. I spent a whole year out, so when someone says to me six weeks, it doesn’t sound too bad.
“This is a cricket injury, it’s like a batter getting hit on the hand and breaking a finger. So I’m okay with that, just got to put it away and get on with the job.”