Cricket World Cup: Virat Kohli ‘gutted’ for good friend Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn made a late appearance in the IPL for RCB before he injured himself. © BCCI

SOUTHAMPTON: India captain Virat Kohli has expressed dismay and hurt at the fact that Dale Steyn will play no part in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

A day before match eight of the World Cup between India and South Africa at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, news broke from that Steyn had failed to recover from the shoulder injury sustained during the IPL. The veteran fast bowler has been with South Africa’s World Cup squad all tournament but did not make it to full fitness to be named for their matches against England and Bangladesh.

On Monday, though the team was not scheduled to train at the Ageas Bowl, Steyn turned up with Hashim Amla at the ground and bowled to his team-mate for about 20-odd minutes. In this time, he generated good pace and bowled Amla a few bouncers.

On Tuesday, however, it was announced that Steyn is out of the World Cup.

Kohli, Steyn’s captain with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, expressed sadness at the news.

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“I’m really feeling bad for Dale because he looked really happy. He was bowling really well and then suddenly, we find out that he’s not going to be able to continue. So I feel bad for him because he’s been a friend for a long time and he’s a very motivated guy,” he told reporters.

“He’s been very happy to come back and play for South Africa. He has been doing really well and he has that hunger and passion in him still. Those niggles and injuries are not going his way and I can understand his frustration about that.

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“I wish him a speedy recovery, but of what I saw of him he was looking in a great mental space. He was very happy. He was enjoying his cricket, bowling really well, getting along with everyone so I can understand he must be feeling gutted and I’m feeling bad for him.”

Before Kohli arrived at the press conference, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis spoke of the loss of Steyn. During his interaction with reporters, he wondered what could have happened if Steyn had not gone to the IPL as a belated purchase by RCB.