Ace fast bowler Dale Steyn will not feature in the fourth Test against England after failing to recover adequately from a shoulder injury sustained in Durban, Cricket South Africa announced on Tuesday (December 19). The hosts, who have already lost the four-match series following a defeat in Johannesburg last week, are unwilling to risk their bowling spearhead ahead of the limited-overs stretch which begins with a One-Day International (ODI) series against England later this month and culminates with the ICC World T20 in India in March-April.
"Dale Steyn has not recovered from a shoulder injury and will not be available for selection for the last Test, and all efforts will be made to have him ready for the one-day international series starting at the end of the month," CSA said in a media release.
Steyn, who picked up the shoulder injury in the first Test in Durban, will now have missed six of South Africa's last eight Test matches, after a groin injury ruled him out of the final three games in India. He will continue to undergo treatment in the hyperbaric chamber in a bid to regain full fitness ahead of a hectic limited-overs season.
In Steyn's absence, the onus of leading the bowling attack will fall once again on Morne Morkel, who will have Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, Chris Morris and Hardus Viljoen the other options. Rabada picked up his maiden five-wicket haul at the Wanderers and looks most likely to retain his place alongside Morkel.
"The good times will come, and we will look back at the tough times and think 'look where we were and look where we are now.' It happens to everyone unfortunately it is happening to us right now, but we have to stick together as a team and stay positive. We are not going to throw in the towel it's unlike us to do that," Rabada said of his team's predicament.
In the batting department, the hosts are likely to ring in one change with Lions batsman Stephen Cook likely to come in for the under-performing Stiaan van Zyl.
South Africa are also sweating on the fitness of keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who missed the Johannesburg Test with a knee injury, reportedly suffered while walking his dog on the eve of the match. Dane Vilas was flown in to the side as a last-minute replacement at Wanderers but hasn't been named in the 17-man squad for the final Test.
The fourth Test starts at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday (January 22).