Cardiff: South Africa are almost certainly going to miss their leading fast bowler Dale Steyn in the ICC Champions Trophy opener against India here on Thursday. The world's No. 1 quickie did not train on Wednesday and spent most his time on the physio's table. Steyn is suffering from a side strain and had pulled out after bowling just five overs during a warm-up match against Pakistan at The Oval on Monday.
Speaking to reporters here at the National Cricket Centre on Wednesday afternoon, South African skipper AB de Villiers said: "He is not looking good at all. We will reassess tonight and again tomorrow morning and it's still touch and go. It's not only one game and won't like to risk him." (Read preview)
De Villiers said he wasn't too worried with Steyn's absence. "We have the experience and the energy to do our best. Against India, we will come out like a pack of wolves," he said. (Also read: Dhoni still rocks despite controversies, says Shoaib Akhtar)
Saying the first 10-15 overs in every game will be crucial in the tournament, De Villiers said there was enough intelligence on the capability of every Indian players. "We know a lot of about each player in their camp and we surely have our plans for them," he said.
South Africa have former Indian coach Gary Kirsten as their team boss. Quite a few players like MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, who were part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, still remain the backbone of the Indian squad here at the Champions Trophy. This will be Kirsten's last assignment as coach of the South African national team. (Top order batting a worry, says R Ashwin)
De Villiers said winning will depend on how well India or South Africa play as a team. "It's not about individuals. We have to play as a team and we are a set one and I am very happy with the combination we have," he said.
South Africa won the inaugural Champions Trophy - it was called the Mini World Cup - when the tournament started in 1998 in Dhaka. Jacques Kallis played a pivotal role in a team led by Hansie Cronje. Kallis said he was keen to do an encore in the last edition of the Champions Trophy.
"The team in 1998 was a great one. Kallis can never be replaced but there is lot of energy in this young team and we have a fair bit of experience in (Hashim) Amla, (JP) Duminy, (Morne) Morkel and me. I surely like to take the trophy back home," De Villiers said.