A few hours before it was announced that Marchant de Lange had been asked to get to the airport and catch a flight to India, Dale Steyn tweeted a picture that would make most men cringe.
Three needles protruding from the inside of his thigh accompanied by a few words that expressed Steyn’s disdain for physiotherapist Brandon Jackson at that particular moment.
Jackson has been a busy man during the tour to India having had to oversee the recoveries of JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and now Steyn as he continues to make progress after picking up a groin strain in the first Test in Mohali.
At this stage though it’s not clear whether Steyn, who missed his first Test in six years after sitting out in Bengaluru this week, will be able to take to the field in five day’s time for the penultimate game of the four match series in Nagpur.
Which explains De Lange’s inclusion although it does appear to be precautionary in case Morkel, Kagiso Rabada or Kyle Abbott, who was flown over as cover for Steyn, break down at some point during the remainder of the tour.
“At the moment we only have three fit seamers in Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott, so with Dale still struggling with a groin injury we decided to bring Marchant in as cover so we are prepared in case one of the three breaks down,” Russell Domingo, the Proteas coach explained yesterday.
De Lange has only played two Tests for South Africa, bagging 7/81 on debut against Sri Lanka at Kingsmead in December 2011 while his last appearance was in March the following year against New Zealand in Wellington.
Since then a number of factors, including injury and a dip in form, have kept him out of contention for the national side. But the 25-year-old is regarded as part of the succession plan once the likes of Steyn and Morkel decide to call it quits.
“Marchant’s biggest strength is pace, if the ball does start to reverse-swing his pace through the air brings him into the contest,” Domingo said of De Lange’s selection
“Even though his performances back home have been a bit inconsistent, we do know that as an impact player he is a guy that can turn the game with a good spell. Guys that can bowl at 150 km per hour will always be good value,” he added.
The Proteas travel to Nagpur, the scene of a memorable win back in 2010 with Hashim Amla scoring a double ton and Jacques Kallis adding a three figure score to set up a comfortable victory, today.
Steyn was also a catalyst then with a 10 wicket haul in the match. He’ll be raring to run in at the same venue.