After long periods on the sidelines, South Africa looks set to recharge their pace battery with the likes of Lungi Ngidi & Vernon Philander nearing their returns from injuries with speedster Dale Steyn also set to make his long awaited comeback this November.
South Africa was at a loss when as amny as five pacers (Steyn, Philander, Morkel, Morris, Ngidi) were all out due to injuries. Although their performance weren’t affected at all by their absences, everyone supporting the ‘Proteas’ would have undoubtedly liked to have them rather than without them.
It was a tale of unfortunate events as Philander & Steyn were in line to feature in the series against Bangladesh. But both suffered setbacks in their respective recoveries, ruling both out for the series.
With two of his fellow pacers already on the sidelines – Morkel suffered a side strain during the first Test against Bangladesh. All-rounder Chris Morris injured his back during the Test series in England. Ngidi was extremely unlucky when he suffered a stress fracture on his back during June. The young pacer has recovered since then. He’s also proved his fitness in a three-day game for the Titans squad for against the Lions on Monday. Although there has been no definite date for Morris to return, it’s expected that every one of the Protea pacers will be fit for the day/night test against Zimbabwe set to commence on Boxing day (December 26th).
In other words, South Africa has to have all of their bowlers fit since they have a very hectic schedule coming up next year. First, they’ll host India for three Tests, six ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals. Australia will also arrive for four Tests. With legendary pacer Ottis Gibson in charge, it is expected that the South Africans can form a fiery pace attack under the Caribbean great’s guidance.
Talking about Ottis, Steyn said, “It’s the first time in my career that I’ve had a head coach who was a bowler. All the previous coaches were batsmen, and they see the game differently to bowlers. When I sat in on one or two meetings (in Potchefstroom) and I listened to the bowlers, I saw Ottis’s eyes light up when ‘KG’ (Kagiso Rabada) was talking, and when Morne was talking. They didn’t light up so much when Hashim (Amla) was talking. It gets me excited because he’s on the same wavelength as us. It’s great to see the head coach out in the middle when the bowlers are bowling and not in the nets with the batsmen. So the love is being shared a bit and I think the bowlers will be taken more seriously when it comes to decision-making.”