Johannesburg - Proteas convenor of selectors Linda Zondi says that Dale Steyn is still very much a part of the plans heading towards the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The 34-year-old Steyn has had a torrid time with injuries.
Having spent close to a year recovering from the shoulder injury he picked up Australia in 2016, Steyn made a long-awaited return to the national set-up in the first Test against India at Newlands on January 5.
Initial signs were encouraging and he immediately looked like he was back to his best, but a freak heel injury on day two saw his comeback screech to a halt and he was ruled out for six weeks.
The aim now will be for him to prove his fitness ahead of four Tests against Australia in March, but there is also the 2019 World Cup to look ahead to.
According to Zondi, Steyn is still part of the plans heading into that tournament.
"For now, our main focus is to see how Dale Steyn does from a Test point of view," Zondi said.
"He needs to go back to his franchise and see where he is with the white ball.
"I’m quite comfortable with the manner in which he performed when he came back.
"I’m very optimistic and he is part of the vision (for 2019). Do we go with Dale Steyn? Do we go with Lungi Ngidi? Do we go with someone else? This is part and parcel of our discussion."
The ODI squad for six matches against India was announced on Thursday, but Zondi did say that it would be re-evaluated after three ODIs.
The plan, he says, is to ensure that South Africa have given opportunities to all players in the mix for the World Cup squad by the end of the year.
Winning that tournament is a priority for this side and is coach Ottis Gibson's major responsibility.
"We need to make sure that we bring that World Cup home. We need to try by all means," Zondi said.
"I’m very confident in Ottis Gibson and I’m very optimistic.
"We have to make these big decisions as we move on, because if we don’t we’re going to keep repeating ourselves in terms of players and we don’t know where we are."