Cricket World Cup 2019: Dale Steyn ruled out of South Africa’s World Cup opener against England
Dale Steyn has been ruled out of South Africa's World Cup opener. © AFP

South Africa speedster Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the ICC World Cup 2019 opener against hosts England to be played on May 30 in London.

Steyn had complained of a shoulder flare-up during the Indian Premier League where he was a late addition to an injury-hit Royal Challengers Bangalore squad. He played just two matches during IPL 2019 before being ruled out.

“He is not fully ready yet and we feel that in a six-week tournament there is no need to press the issue right now,” South Africa coach Ottis Gibson said on Tuesday.

Steyn is set to miss South Africa’s opening two matches against England (Thursday) and Bangladesh (Sunday) and will be fit by the third match against India on June 5. During a training session at The Oval on Tuesday, Steyn played a limited role, bowling with a shortened run-up before opting for an extended batting session.

South Africa have been struggling with fitness issues to their pace bowlers in the lead-up to the World Cup. Alongside Steyn, the pair of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were dealing with injury issues of their own.

Ngidi was to represent Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2019 but was ruled out of the entire season due to fitness concerns. On the other hand, Rabada played a vital role in Delhi Capitals’ run to the IPL playoffs before being called back by Cricket South Africa due to a back injury.

The duo, however, seems to have fully recovered, having turned out for South Africa’s warm-up tie against Sri Lanka. Ngidi bowled six overs in which he returned figures of 2/12. Rabada delivered seven overs for 40 runs and one wicket.

South Africa will either slot in Chris Morris or Dwanie Pretorius as a replacement for the veteran pacer come Thursday.