Legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis has backed Dale Steyn to make a strong comeback in the upcoming three-Test series against India, starting January 5 in Cape Town.
Steyn has not played international cricketer since breaking down with a stress fracture during the first of South Africa's 2-1 win over Australia Down Under in November last year.
The 34-year-old returned to competitive cricket for the Knights in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge last month and also featured in the Cricket South Africa XI during Zimbabwe practice match earlier this month.
Steyn was supposed to make his international comeback during the recently-concluded Boxing Day four-day Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe. However, a viral infection ruled him out of the match, which the hosts won inside two days.
The veteran campaigner, who tends to give his best when fired up, now needs only five wickets to go past Shaun Pollock's South African record of 421 Test wickets.
After being included in the 15-man squad for the first Test, a fit Steyn will be raring to have a go at the Indian batsman, according to Kallis.
"I don't think he would be playing if he wasn't 100% fit. I think he is fit and raring to go. An angry Steyn is an asset to any team," Kallis told the Hindustan Times.
He added: "It [surpassing Pollock] will be a fantastic achievement, he has been a world-class performer for so many years and deserves all the accolades."
Should South Africa field a pace quartet?
Kallis also said South Africa should have a spinner in the playing XI despite having a star-studded pace battery.
Notably, the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Andre Phehlukwayo and Vernon Philander have in top form for the hosts. The addition of comeback man Morne Morkel, who decimated Zimbabwe in the Boxing Day Test, adds firepower to the lethal attack that is expected to cause a lot of problems for the Indian batsmen.
"I would hesitate going to a Test without a spinner because they do play a role in the last couple of days. You have to look at the conditions and take a call," Kallis said.
Kallis' tip to Indian pacers
Meanwhile, Kallis also revealed what the much-talked-about Indian bowling line-up should do to emerge successful in the upcoming series.
A lot has been said about the improved Indian pace attack, which seems to be capable of putting India in commanding positions.
The likes of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma have evolved into match-winner under captain Virat Kohli. The addition of limited-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah in the 17-man squad had added to the excitement around the visitors' bowling line-up.
"They [India] have a talented bowling lineup. The conditions here will suit seamers slightly more than in India. So it would be interesting to see how the bowling attack goes. It will be an interesting series," Kallis said.
"They have to adapt and adapt quickly. These are foreign conditions and they are not used to playing on our wickets. They have to learn what length to bowl here. If they get to bowl in the right area, they can be useful."