The much-anticipated return of Dale Steyn to international cricket is set to extend for few more days as the South Africa star is all but ruled out of the upcoming first Test against India, scheduled to start on January 5 in Cape Town.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Proteas are still sweating on the full fitness of the former world’s No. 1 fast bowler which has more or less ruled the pacer out of the series-opener. The speedster is yet to play an international game since injuring his shoulder in November 2016 during the tour of Australia.

He was expected to return to action earlier this year in June, but the healing process took longer than expected. He returned to action in the Ram Slam a few weeks ago and recently made a much-awaited return to first-class cricket.

Steyn injured his shoulder during Australia series last year (Credits: Getty)

The 34-year-old Dale Steyn had returned to red-ball cricket during the warm-up game against Zimbabwe for CSA Invitation XI but was ruled out of the subsequent historic four-day game against the same opponents.

However, speculations were rife that the pacer would be fit for the first Test against India but his chances are looking slim now as reports are suggesting he is yet to recover fully.

Well, Dale Steyn’s absence can be a blessing in a disguise for the Proteas who are facing a conundrum on their final bowling lineup. While Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander are looking likely to be included in the playing eleven, the race was mainly between Steyn and Morne Morkel for the third pacer. But with Steyn now in a race against time, the hosts can easily include the in-form Morkel in the side for the first Test.

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