South Africa suffered a huge blow to their stuttering World Cup hopes on Tuesday when fast bowler Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
The 35-year-old had been battling to be fit in time for Wednesday’s crucial clash against fancied India in Southampton.
But the veteran seamer has been forced to admit defeat, leaving head coach Ottis Gibson’s side short of firepower.
South Africa have called up left-arm pace bowler Beuran Hendricks as a replacement for the remainder of the tournament, with Lungi Ngidi also nursing a hamstring problem.
Paceman Anrich Nortje was ruled out with a thumb issue before the tournament even started.
South Africa Manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee announced Steyn’s withdrawal to the press. “At the outset, Dale’s case has been unique. We know that upon his return from the IPL due to shoulder discomfort, he had numerous scans done which didn’t reveal anything of significance,” he said.
“Aside from chronic, what we call inflammatory changes involving the tendons of the shoulder.”
“He was seen by three of South Africa’s top orthopaedic specialists, shoulder specialists, and we were reassured by the expert opinions that Dale was clear to play.”
“His rehab and fitness regime continued at pace and the focus was to get him up to speed for the tournament. The plan was always to get him ready for the second or third game of the World Cup.”
“However, upon our arrival into the UK, once he started bowling, a different problem emerged, what we call a shoulder impingement syndrome, and he consulted with an orthopaedic specialist in London a few days ago.”
“He had an injection inserted into the problematic area which unfortunately did not resolve the symptoms. So a decision was made to replace him.”
“The champion bowler that Dale is, every effort was made to give him all the opportunity to recover and be ready for this tournament.”
“With both Anrich Nortje and Vernon Philander unavailable due to injury, the selectors also allowed him the extra time to recover. But unfortunately, this was not to be.”
South Africa have endured a wretched start to the tournament, losing to hosts England by 104 runs then slipping to a 21-run loss to Bangladesh on Sunday.
Gibson said on Monday that Steyn was winning his injury fight, saying he was “getting closer every day”, but less than 24 hours later the talismanic figure was out of the competition.