Dale Steyn’s frustrating absence from the game since November last year is almost over. The great fast bowler is finally back in the nets and bowling and, if his recovery goes according to plan, he’ll be back up to full pace about a fortnight before the first Test against Bangladesh which begins on September 28.
His recovery has been carefully managed and monitored by his a three-person team appointed and paid for by CSA. Shoulder specialist Professor Steven Roche has worked closely with biokineticist and former Proteas physiotherapist Andrew Gray and Cobras physiotherapist TJ van Beuge.
It has been impossible to form a specific, cricketing comeback until he is ready to bowl but that day is nigh.
Naturally, given the man’s love of the outdoors, there was never a problem maintaining his aerobic fitness: “I have done a lot of running and a lot of surfing to strengthen the shoulder – and even more time in the gym – so there’s no problem with my overall fitness,” Steyn said this week. “In fact, I’d say I’m as fit as I ever have been.”
A fast bowler’s shoulder is a rather important piece of his anatomy and when it sustains a fractured bone there can be no rushing the recovery process – or even certain knowledge of when it will be fully healed. Having aborted a plan to be ready in June, Steyn and his team readjusted their sights and are now confident of hitting the target.
“We devised a six-week programme to get back to top speed and I’m two weeks into it. It’s going really well, I’m feeling strong and completely confident – it actually feels like I’m ahead of schedule,” Steyn said.
Without a clear, cricketing goal to aim for at the moment (apart from the Bangladesh Test matches), 34-year-old Steyn cannot do much more than get himself back to peak condition and make himself available for selection. “I’m confident I’ll be back to my best and ready to play two weeks before the first Test.
“I’m not sure what the plans are for me, I haven’t heard whether there are any SA ‘A’ games or how much cricket they want me to play before considering me but obviously I will need to play some games. All I do know is how strong I feel and how much I’ve missed doing my thing on the cricket field. I’ve desperately missed playing – my enthusiasm for the game and bowling fast is as strong as it ever was.”
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