Indian skipper Virat Kohli has expressed dismay and hurt at the fact that the South African speedster Dale Steyn will play no part in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Steyn sustained a shoulder injury at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) but Cricket South Africa hoped he would regain full fitness during this World Cup. He missed the Proteas’ opening two matches, however, and will now return home ahead of South Africa’s clash with India on Wednesday.
“I’m really feeling bad for Dale because he looked really happy. He was bowling really well and then suddenly, we find out that he’s not going to be able to continue. So I feel bad for him because he’s been a friend for a long time and he’s a very motivated guy,” Kohli, Steyn’s captain with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL, said while addressing the reporters in Southampton.
“He’s been very happy to come back and play for South Africa. He has been doing really well and he has that hunger and passion in him still. Those niggles and injuries are not going his way and I can understand his frustration about that.
“I wish him a speedy recovery, but of what I saw of him he was looking in a great mental space. He was very happy. He was enjoying his cricket, bowling really well, getting along with everyone so I can understand he must be feeling gutted and I’m feeling bad for him,” Kohli added.
— ICC (@ICC) June 4, 2019
Left-arm pacer Beuran Hendricks has replaced Steyn in the South African squad that has suffered two defeats from their first two games of the 2019 World Cup. Beaten by 104 runs by England in the tournament opener, Faf du Plessis-led side were then stunned by Bangladesh at the Oval on Sunday.
With only four teams progressing from the league stage, South Africa already face an uphill task to secure a top-four finish. The Proteas will play their third game of the tournament on Wednesday, in what will be Team India’s opening fixture.