Gibson: Philander and Steyn could be in World Cup plans

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has not ruled out the possibility of experienced pace bowling duo, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, being in the final squad for next year’s World Cup.

While an important member of the Test team, Philander played the last of his 30 ODIs against New Zealand three years ago and was not thought to be an option for the white-ball formats.

However, the retirement of Morne Morkel and the fact the World Cup is being played in England with conditions expected to suit Philander’s type of bowling could see the Cape Cobras player in the frame for selection.

Gibson said an added bonus is that a player like the 32-year-old Philander does need to be assessed as the selectors know what he offers.

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Speaking to reporters, Gibson said: “With experienced players like Vern – we know what he can do. If we are widening the pool, we don’t need to see him immediately.

“Vernon doesn’t need to be playing every game leading up to the World Cup to come into the conversation.”

Steyn is an interesting case as the fast bowler has battled to stay on the park due to injuries.

The 34-year-old Steyn is hoping to make a comeback to the field from his latest injury with Hampshire in county cricket – he has signed a deal to play two matches in June.

The paceman is thought to still want to play Test cricket as he is just three wickets from breaking the South Africa record for the most wickets in the longest format.

Gibson added: “Dale Steyn could come into the World Cup, if he gets fit. We don’t need to see him now.

“Dale is very passionate about playing for South Africa. All the conversations I have had with him, he just wants to get back on the park and play for South Africa.

“When retirement comes, who knows? If he comes back and he plays well for a few games and he thinks I am satisfied – because he has been injured for a long time – therefore he wouldn’t want to retire having been injured.

“Maybe he wants to play a couple of games, get back on the park so he can get the sort of send-off he deserves.”