Steyn begins shifting focus from T20 to Test cricket

Dale Steyn will not play in the Titans’ next Ram Slam game after turning out for three in a row last week, both as part of the franchise’s rotation policy and in order for the paceman to up his bowling workload in the nets. Steyn bowled a total of 10 overs and took four wickets for 61 runs in what has been deemed a satisfactory comeback following a year out of the game due to shoulder injury. The next step in his recovery is focused on bowling longer spells so that he can be ready for Test cricket.

All of South Africa’s bowlers need to work on something other than T20 skills because an eight-Test summer follows the ongoing Ram Slam tournament. “It’s not only Dale that needs to bowl more, all the bowlers need to up their volumes ahead of the Test matches,” Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa’s team manager, who is also a medical doctor, told ESPNcricinfo. “We have set plans for all the bowlers in terms of the numbers of balls and overs they need to bowl,”

Moosajee said if Steyn’s return continues according to schedule he sees “no reason” why the fast bowler won’t appear in whites again. Steyn will be back for the Titans later in the competition and could also play some provincial cricket. “If he plays enough in the T20 competition and bowls in the nets and maybe even plays a three-day provincial game, then I don’t see why not,” Moosajee said when asked if he thought fans could look forward to seeing Steyn in action for South Africa this summer.

Steyn is hopeful of making an international return over Boxing Day in the inaugural four-day, day-night Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth and also has his sights set on playing against India and Australia later in the summer. The 34-year-old needs just five wickets to beat Shaun Pollock’s tally of 421 and become South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.

Morne Morkel, who is on the mend from a side strain, also looks set to play a part in South Africa’s busiest home season since readmission. He is currently bowling at 80% and should be at full capacity in early December.

However, Morne’s brother and Titans’ T20 captain, Albie, told reporters in Pretoria that he only expects Morne to be fit for the playoffs of the Ram Slam in mid-December and at that stage, it is unlikely he will get a game. CSA have a policy that any player returning from injury must play some form of domestic cricket before they can be considered for the national team. That means Morne may also look to the provincial structures or even club cricket to prove his fitness.

Chris Morris, who has been sidelined with a lower-back injury since the England tour in August, is expected to be considered for Titans’ selection in the next week.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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