Rabada has been a consistent performer across formats for South Africa, and was the second-highest wicket-taker in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, despite having his stint cut short by a stiff back. Steyn’s, meanwhile, continued to be plagued by a troublesome shoulder, and flew back to South Africa after playing just two games.
Steyn and Rabada form one of the best new-ball combinations in modern-day cricket
“We feel that those guys are on track,” Gibson said. “There’s nothing that people should be alarmed about. They’re going to both make full recoveries and be able to take their place at the World Cup.”
Just over two weeks remain before South Africa begin their campaign, in the tournament opener. Their opponents – the hosts England – meanwhile look set to include Barbados-born all-rounder Jofra Archer in their squad for the event. Archer followed his success in the IPL with an impressive bowling performance in just his second ODI – a rain-affected match against Pakistan at The Oval. Gibson expressed full confidence that the promising youngster would make the final cut.
“Jofra Archer will add some spice to their attack, and I can’t see how they are not going to pick him, to be honest. He is a guy from my home of Barbados, so I would be very happy to see him putting on an England shirt and playing in the World Cup.”
Talking about South Africa’s prospects in the World Cup, Gibson said that a lot would depend on the England weather. South Africa have progressed to the semi-finals on four occasions in the marquee event, but have never made the final. In two of those semi-finals, in 1992, and in the last edition, in 2015, they finished on the wrong side of the result after rain interrupted proceedings.
South Africa lost to New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup semi-final at Auckland
Having previously served the England team in a coaching capacity, Gibson brings vast experience of these conditions to the table. “England can be interesting,” Gibson said. “England lends itself to high-scoring games. The weather will play a part in that. I believe the conditions will play a huge part in the outcome of the World Cup. They are forecasting a hot spell coming up in the next couple of months, so perhaps the tracks will be a lot dryer.”