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Steyn's big change in bid for Test return

South Africa paceman reveals he is just two or three weeks away from his first match since shoulder injury

South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn is set to return to where it all began as he makes his bid for a return to international cricket.

Steyn has announced he has signed with South African domestic side Titans for the 2017-18 summer, the team where he began his professional career in 2003, after a seven-year stint with the Cape Cobras.

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The 34-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury during the Proteas tour of Australia last summer, but he is nearing fitness and eyeing a return to the top level during South Africa’s busy home summer, which will feature series against Bangladesh, India and Australia.

"It was an easy decision for me," Steyn said. "The luxury of playing for South Africa is that you get to nominate which franchise you want to play for.

"The Titans laid down the platform for where I am now. I think the most important thing that I learnt at the Titans were the basics and it is something I still go back to every time I play international cricket.

“It was a great place to start playing cricket and it's going to be a great place to go back to."

Neither Steyn nor Cricket South Africa have confirmed when the spearhead will be fit for a return to the Test arena, but Proteas fans will be hoping to see him return for next month’s showdown with Bangladesh, which begins on September 28.

But the paceman did confirm on Friday that he was just "probably two or three weeks away" from playing his first game.

"Once I walk into the team my job will be to lead the attack; bowl fast and try and take wickets," Steyn told reporters.

It came after Steyn posted a photo of himself in Test whites on Thursday and declared: “The wait is over”.

 

The wait is over. 👊🏼

A post shared by 🔘 (@dalesteyn) on

Steyn currently sits second on South Africa’s all-time wicket takers list with 417 wickets, just four behind Shaun Pollock.

At the Titans he’ll play under coach and former teammate Mark Boucher, who hopes to help Steyn’s return to the Test arena.

"The experience he'll bring to the side will provide the youngsters the opportunity to learn from him," Boucher said.

"I want to get the best out of him, not only for himself but if Dale is playing good cricket then South African cricket is in good a position.

“If we can give him an opportunity to show case his skill and hopefully try work his way back into the Protea side then that will be great."

Another Proteas star whose Test future is up in the air is AB de Villiers, who is currently weighing up his future in Test cricket ahead of a meeting with Cricket South Africa this month where the two parties will make a final decision on the star’s participation across all formats at international level in the coming years.