JOHANNESBURG – Somewhere between the government’s erratic economic ‘planning’ and the Proteas eventual admission about Dale Steyn’s inability to the play in the World Cup, yesterday was one of those crappy days, where staying in bed really was the best option.
The curtain being drawn on Steyn’s World Cup is of course nowhere near as calamitous for the country as the chaos at Luthuli House, but in terms of management, both - as in Steyn’s case, and currently as far as the economy is concerned - been handled extremely poorly.
To stick with cricket; the Steyn situation represents a case of the Proteas shooting themselves in the foot before they’d even stepped on the plane to England. Nevermind, Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli, David Warner, Chris Gayle, Babar Azam, or a high pressure World Cup knockout game, the Proteas handicapped themselves, before they left these shores.
“We are not thinking just about the first week, our strategy revolves around all six weeks. If he is not able to play a part in the first week then hopefully he plays a part in the latter stages of the tournament,” the national side’s coach, Ottis Gibson said the day before the team’s departure.
Essentially that meant the Proteas were creating a barrier for themselves for at least a third of their round-robin matches.
So, while their three opponents in the first week were picking from 15 players, the Proteas would be picking from 14 and hoping there would be no injuries. Well that latter part didn’t happen - with Lungi Ngidi going down after bowling just four overs against Bangladesh. The Proteas were asking for trouble, and trouble answered.
It was simply wrong to take Steyn in that group when he wasn’t close to being fit. Faf du Plessis described Steyn as being at 60 percent when he boarded the plane, and that is nowhere near being ready, not when the journey is to the World Cup.