Shoulder and ankle injuries kept the 35-year-old fast bowler out of action for long spells in recent years. Steyn missed more than a year of Test cricket from late 2016 to early 2018 because of shoulder problems. He injured his ankle on his return to Tests at the start of the year.
Steyn did play in the two-Test series in Sri Lanka in July but his last ODI was against Australia in October 2016. Captain Faf du Plessis was also named in the squad for the three-match series against Zimbabwe starting on Sept. 30 but his participation is subject to a fitness Test after undergoing shoulder surgery.
South Africa included uncapped batsman Christiaan Jonker as it aims to build depth ahead of the Cricket World Cup next year. Batsman David Miller and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock were rested. The 19-year-old batsman Matthew Breetzke was also drafted into the squad “as a learning experience,” Cricket South Africa said.
Next year’s World Cup is likely the last chance for Steyn and fellow veterans du Plessis, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy to win a limited-overs title.