Steyn will continue to bowl in the nets, keeping his fitness up
The only reason that Dale Steyn has not been seen thus far is because he is definitely going to the World Cup in May.
Those were the words of Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis in Durban, as he revealed much of the rationale behind selections and then additions to the 50-over squad in recent weeks.
“We need to look at Anrich Nortjé, to see if he could be a fourth fast bowling option,” Du Plessis explained on Sunday night.
That means the Warriors tearaway is primed for a first run on his home ground, in the fourth One-Day International between South Africa and Sri Lanka tomorrow.
Steyn, meanwhile, may get a chance at Newlands on Saturday. But that is only a maybe. Given that Kagiso Rabada is only just finding his rhythm again, and Lungi Ngidi has just come back from injury, it is a bit of a conundrum.
All three of Steyn, Rabada and Ngidi are definite for the showpiece tournament, but they all can’t play at once – especially when Nortjé requires a decent window of opportunity.
“We thought of maybe releasing him (Steyn) to go to the Titans, but the Titans are playing well, and the balance of their side will probably remain the same,” Du Plessis said.
Thus, Steyn will continue to bowl in the nets, keeping his fitness up.
On the batting front, JP Duminy returning to cricket is enough evidence for the selectors. Du Plessis added that it was a case of proving fitness by getting on the park for the left-hander.
The fact that he has also shown immediate fluency with bat in hand is a bonus. Duminy brings a balance that the Proteas crave, and his form before his long-term injury might have been forgotten by some.
He was excessively good in Sri Lanka, mixing adventure with a touch of circumspect.
Above him, there is traffic, it seems.
Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla and the currently discarded Reeza Hendricks may be playing for two spots between the three of them.
Quite how that debate will be settled remains to be seen. The next two games matter a great deal for those recalled, because it is a final chance at securing a place on the plane to the World Cup.
For Hendricks, it may be a torturous few days of waiting and wondering.
The fourth ODI takes place at St George’s Park tomorrow.