Dale Steyn fields during the second Test between the Proteas and India at Newlands in January. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Dale Steyn’s heart may be burning to be involved in the Australian series, but he is not going to rush his comeback to Test cricket.

It was expected that Steyn would return to competitive cricket from a heel injury sustained in the first against India in January during this weekend’s round of Sunfoil Series action.

However, the 34-year-old does not want to push his body in fear of aggravating the injury any further.

“I could have played a four-day game this week. Physically I am fine. The shoulder is phenomenal, I am bowling I am just not playing. The problem as a fast bowler I need to land on that front foot of mine. Putting eight or nine times my body weight on that front foot of mine, it can only handle so much.

“People are saying ‘it is so disappointing that you can’t play the four-day game’ but what would be worse is playing the game and walking off with another injury. That speaks for the Test matches too. I can’t imagine another Test match where I need to walk off halfway because my foot is just a little bruised.

"I can’t let my teammates down, or my country for that matter. It has happened a couple of times now. We are pushing for that fourth Test,” Steyn told Independent Media at a Nissan coaching clinic.

It has been a frustrating period for Steyn with South Africa’s pace spearhead on the sidelines for the past two years through various injuries. During that period, Steyn has watched Kagiso Rabada take over the mantle, not only for the Proteas but the young paceman is currently also the No 1 bowler on the ICC rankings.

However, Rabada is currently suspended for the remainder of the Australian series after brushing Australian captain Steve Smith’s shoulder in the second Test at St George’s Park.

In the build-up to that Test, Steyn commented that Rabada was perhaps holding back due to the demerit points that were hanging over his head. Does he think he was responsible for edging on the young tearaway just a bit too much?

“I bloody well hope not!” Steyn remarked. “But I am not going to say I called it, but you can clearly see that when KG is fired up, and he has the bit between his teeth we can see what he is capable of. 

"I did think he was a bit tame in the first Test, and felt the handcuffs of those demerit points sitting on him and not being able to say anything or perform the way that he likes to perform. It is going to be fine line going forward for KG.

“We also remember he is 22. We all make stupid mistakes when we’re 22. It doesn’t matter how many cricket matches he has played, how many wickets he takes. He is still 22. We can’t be upset about that.”

“I was s**t scared of guys like Kallis, Boucher, Ray Jennings! But he is way better than I was when I was 22. 

“Maybe this needed to happen for him to learn a bit quicker. I did stupid things when I was younger. I spat in the direction of Sulieman Benn. I haven’t done anything since. We all make these mistakes.”

Cape Times

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