Dale Steyn has been ruled out of South Africa’s Test series in Australia with a fractured right shoulder. He did damage to the shoulder, which he had broken last season, while bowling in the first Test in Perth.
Steyn left the field 42 minutes before lunch on the second day to visit the hospital and scans on his right shoulder revealed the fracture. South Africa’s manager Mohammed Moosajee said he will have to return home to consult with a specialist, and might require surgery, but before that he might bat at the WACA if “absolutely necessary”. It is not yet determined how long his recovery period could last, but it could be six months.
“Dale pulled up while bowling shortly before lunch complaining of severe pain to his right shoulder,” Moosajee said. “He was taken to the hospital for preliminary scans, which confirmed a new fracture of the bone in the shoulder joint. He will bat if absolutely necessary, but will play no further part in the match and series, and will return to South Africa to see a shoulder specialist who will advise on an appropriate plan of action.
“An injury of this nature is rare and will in all likelihood require surgery, but that will only be confirmed once we receive an opinion from the specialist.”
Steyn went down after delivering the fourth ball in his 13th over, after picking up the wicket of David Warner for 97. He remained on his haunches after his followthrough and held his right shoulder while grimacing in pain. Keshav Maharaj and Hashim Amla were the first of his team-mates to arrive at his side before phystioterapist Brandon Jackson walked him off the field. He is currently five wickets away from overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.
South Africa have not named any replacement yet. South Africa are due to play two more Tests on the tour, including their maiden pink-ball Test in Adelaide on November 24.
After previously breaking the shoulder, Steyn had made a comeback at the World T20 in March, when he played in two of South Africa’s four matches. He was then left out of the Caribbean triangular series in June – officially rested but unofficially dropped – and allowed to play in the NatWest T20 Blast to regain form. He returned for South Africa’s Tests against New Zealand and seemed back to his best with eight wickets in the Centurion win. He also played in four of the five ODIs against Australia and was occasionally seen holding the shoulder but did not need treatment at any stage.
Before this series against Australia, Faf du Plessis stressed the importance of Steyn staying fit for the thee Tests because of his role in leading South Africa’s attack. Steyn missed six of South Africa’s eight Tests last summer – three each against India and England, with a hamstring and shoulder problem respectively.
Without Steyn, South Africa are down to two frontline seamers at the WACA – Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada – and one specialist spinner in Maharaj. Morne Morkel, who sat out the New Zealand Tests with a back injury, was left out of the XI for this match because of concerns over his match readiness but could be an option for the remaining two matches. Kyle Abbott is the fifth seamer in the squad.