South African veteran speedster Dale Steyn was back in the Test squad after a year’s span. His inclusion in the team turned out to be a big threat to the Indian batting line-up as he claimed two crucial wickets during the first innings in the Cape Town Test. But soon he sustained a calf injury. He was spotted using crutches to walk in the dressing room and later, it was announced by the South African cricket board that Steyn has been ruled out for the rest of the series as he needs time to recover.
Well, that was not just the end of the story. In the second innings, when the Proteas were nine wickets down, the injured bowler padded up and went to the field just to help AB de Villiers so that he could score a few more runs and set a tough target for the Indians.
After defeating Virat Kohli and Co by 72 runs, Steyn spoke to the Cricket South Africa’s official website and revealed the reason behind his courageous move. He said,
I figured, at that point, we probably needed another 20 runs just to feel a little bit safer. I figured, if I go out there, I could block.
As learned from the reports, skipper Faf du Plessis said that he was ready to bat even before the matter could be discussed with him. Du Plessis said,
The plan wasn’t to get him to bat and injure him more. He was padded up before we spoke about this to him. He had worked for over a year. He was challenged through periods where he started and got injured again, and then started and got injured again.
With every ball he blocked in his 5-minute stint at the crease, he garnered a massive cheer from the crowd present at the venue. It was a historic moment in the history of Test cricket and reminded of the iconic vigil by former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith against Australia in 2009.
“It was not that bad but there was no running involved. It’s not quite a Graeme Smith walking out with a broken hand moment, but I’ll claim it anyway,” said Steyn in his interview.
Back in 2009, then South African captain, Graeme Smith, had walked out to bat at No.11, hoping to survive 8.2 overs against the Aussies despite being injected with his own blood to mend a broken right hand. He could not stop an Australian win but found all-round admiration for his tenacity.
And after almost eight years, Dale Steyn showed same sportsman spirit and stood for the team when it needed him the most. His medical reports say that Steyn is expected to recover in six weeks‘ time.
(With inputs from PTI)