Steyn sidelined for remainder of India series

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5:05 AM ET

Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the Test series against India, after seeing a foot and ankle specialist on Sunday. He will be reassessed in four to six weeks’ time. He had sustained significant damage on his left heel in Cape Town.

Steyn suffered the injury just before tea on the second day of the ongoing Test against India, when he landed awkwardly in the footholds, and then pulled out of the last three balls of his over. He was immediately taken for a scan, which showed that the plantar fascia (the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes) has separated from the bone. He saw a specialist on Sunday, who confirmed the nature and extent of the injury but was unable to provide any means of speeding up his recovery.

Steyn is currently in a moon boot and will be reassessed as his recovery progresses. South Africa’s selectors will name a replacement player for Steyn in the squad after the Newlands Test. Duanne Olivier, who played against Bangladesh, and Lungi Ngidi, who has returned to form after a back injury over the winter, could come into contention.

Given that Steyn’s injury has occurred just over seven weeks before South Africa host Australia in March, he could be doubtful for the start of that series as well. Steyn would probably need some game time before playing international cricket again. South Africa’s franchise four-day competition resumes in February, which could give Steyn an opportunity to play long-format cricket in a bid to make another Test comeback. South Africa will also be playing ODIs and T20s against India in February, which Steyn may target.

This is the fourth major injury Steyn has suffered since late 2015. A groin problem sustained in India in November that year kept him out of three of the four Tests on that tour, and when he returned on Boxing Day 2015 he suffered the first of his two shoulder injuries. He was unable to play three of the four home Tests against England but was fit by the time New Zealand played in South Africa in August 2016. He played both Tests before breaking a bone in his shoulder in Australia in November 2016 and was out of the game for 14 months before making a comeback against India.

Steyn has not completed three of the last five Tests he has played and remains three wickets away from overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s leading Test wicker-taker.

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