In news which is sure to boost the South African camp, Steyn is targeting a return with national side for the third Test against Australia.
The veteran pacer had only just returned to international cricket in the first Test against India in January after over a year out with a fractured shoulder. His comeback though, did not last long with a foot injury mid-way into the Test ruling him out for the rest of the series.
On Monday, Steyn confirmed to Radio KFM in South Africa that he had started bowling again and was eager to get back into action against the Aussies.
Steve Smith’s men had clinched the opening Test with a 118-run win in Durban to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
“I’m actually walking to my car right now to have a bowl. I can’t wait. It’s been a long time – shoulder, foot, all that kind of stuff. Watching the cricket yesterday and seeing some of the things that are happening on the field, I just want to get out there,” Steyn told the radio show.
The 34-year-old has endured a difficult time with injuries over the past year and a half, robbing cricket fans of the chance to see the bowler who was literally unplayable at his absolute peak, in action.
With 419 Test wickets to his name in just 86 matches, Steyn needs three more to overtake Shaun Pollock as the leading South African wicket-taker of all-time.
With pacers like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Kagiso Rabada strutting their stuff in the series, the addition of Steyn to the Proteas bowling attack would sure be a mouthwatering prospect for Test cricket lovers around the world.
The Aussie great and all-time leading wicket-taker amongst pacers was in Chennai to train young bowlers at the MRF Pace Foundation.
Speaking about the performance of India’s bowlers in the recently concluded tour of South Africa, the master of seam-bowling lauded the pace unit but said that adding consistency in future tours to come would be the key.
“They are going well as a unit. If the bowlers can pick 20 wickets, then it’s perfect. Their pacers Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya did the job. They are confident and are a quality attack at the moment,” McGrath told the Press Trust of India.
“I think the pitches in Australia won’t be that helpful as they were in South Africa. But they will still be better for pacers than what it is in India. It is great to pick so many wickets in one series. But to be the No1 side consistently, you need to have a solid attack. Indian pacers have got the ability but they have to go out there and do it series after series consistently,” he added.
India are slated to tour Australia at the end of the year for a four-match Test series.
Nagarkoti was subsequently picked up by Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the player auction. The Rajasthan-born bowler is among several youngsters to have benefited from stints in the pace academy.
“It’s been a great year for these boys. Nagarkoti impressed in U-19 WC and got picked by KKR. Playing in IPL is a bonus for him. He is young and has a big career is ahead of him. But it’s up to him to work further,” McGrath said about the pacer.
“When you bowl at good pace, there will be a load on the body. It’s tough getting to the top, but tougher staying there.
“Being slim doesn’t mean you are not strong. He has good wrist, rhythm and approaching the crease well. It’s a good sign.”
India will take on hosts Sri Lanka in the Nidahas T20I Trophy tri-series opener at Colombo on Tuesday. With Virat Kohli being provided a rest following his heroics in the long and gruelling tour of South Africa, Rohit Sharma will lead the Men in Blue in the T20I tournament which also involves Bangladesh.
Speaking to the media, the stand-in skipper compared the T20 format to the Premier League in England due to its unpredictability.
“T20 is such a format where any team can win on that particular day. The game can change in a span of one over, it can slip away. On a given day, any team can beat anyone. How do I explain it? It’s like the English Premier League. Some teams may be stronger, but anyone can win on a given day,” Rohit stated.
The Mumbai batsman, who had stated that India are not the favourites in the tri-series, said the tournament allowed his side to test their bench strength in the run-up to the 2019 ICC World Cup.
“It’s always important to know your bench strength. We’re lucky that we have got quality players who are waiting to do well. They have been consistently performing in A tours, Ranji Trophy, IPL. It’s the right time to blood them. We want to see how they play here and not rush them in ICC tournaments directly as we don’t want them to be taken by surprise. We want to see where they stand as individuals,” he said.
India have rested several big guns for the tournament apart from Kohli. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya have all been given a well-deserved break from cricket with several youngsters getting a chance in the Nidahas Trophy.
That has not gone down too well with Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurasinghe who expressed his disappointment with India’s move to rest the big stars.
“If you go by the ratings, India is the No1 team, so they always start ahead of the other teams. Whoever comes for India is a very strong team. We have to start well because we haven’t been doing well at home,” Hathurasinghe said.
“We can’t control their selection. We are playing the India team so whoever they play on that day we prepare for them. If the stars are there it’s good for the spectators, but unfortunately at this stage, they’ve come with a different team,” he added.