South Africa's coach Ottis Gibson feared injury was on the cards when he said Dale Steyn's place in the eleven is not sure before the first Test but even Steyn wouldn't have imagined that his comeback would be cut short so bizarrely and abruptly. Fortunately, the Proteas were fielding a four-man pace attack and Steyn's absence due to heel injury was not felt during India's unsuccessful attempt of chasing 208.
Shortly after it was confirmed that Steyn has been ruled out of the India series, Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi were named replacements for the veteran pacer by Cricket South Africa (CSA). While South Africa have the likes of Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo already in the squad, it will be interesting to see whether they once again go with a four-man pace attack for the second Test, which could mean either of Ngidi or Oliver get a look-in.
Here's all you need to know about both the young South African pacers:
Oliver, who comes from Bloemfontein, made his first-class debut at the age of 19 in the 2010-11 season. He was also a part of the U-19 side in 2011 but it wasn't until the 2014/15 season that he played his first game in the franchise system and it took him just a year to show his stocks.
In the 2015-16 season, Oliver was Sunfoil Series' second highest wicket-taker (and also topped the bowling charts for Knights) with 41 wickets at an excellent average and strike rate of 16.07 and 32.17 respectively. He bettered the performances in the following year and snared most number of wickets–52.
After South Africa lost Kyle Abbott to a Kolpak deal in January 2017, Oliver found himself in the team for the third Test against Sri Lanka and grabbed five wickets in the match. However, due to the embarrassment of riches that the Proteas seem to have in the fast bowling department, Oliver has never been able to cement his place in the playing eleven.
As of now, Oliver has featured in five Test and picked up 17 wickets at an average of 23.11. While in first-class cricket, he has bagged 278 wickets in 70 matches.
Unlike Oliver, Ngidi built his reputation in the limited-overs formats. Equally threatening with the new as well as the old ball, the 21-year-old clocks 140kph regularly. While he made his T20 debut in September 2015, he first featured in a first-class match in January 2016.
Though yet to play a Test, Ngidi starred in his maiden series for South Africa. Picked in the T20 squad to face Sri Lanka in January 2017, he won the Man of the Match award on his debut after picking two wickets. Overall, he bagged six in the 3-match T20I series. Thanks to that success, he was drafted in the squad for the subsequent ODI series too, but had to pull out due to an abdominal muscle injury, which took him four months to recover.
Since then, he hasn't featured in any international match and has played a lone first-class match. He also played a few domestic matches for Titans and was playing the domestic one-day cup before the call-up for the ongoing Test series against India.