The world awaits for Steyn to come back to his lethal best…….
0 for 60 vs Sri Lanka on July 20, 2018
0 for 30 vs Sri Lanka on July 20, 2018
1 for 54 vs Sri Lanka on July 12, 2018
1 for 35 vs Sri Lanka on July 12, 2018
2 for 51 vs India on January 5, 2018
The above numbers are about one of the all-time best fast bowlers in the history of Test cricket. Those who have been following the man since his debut in 2004-05 season, are not habituated to witness him cut a frustrating figure. Obviously, Dale Steyn can’t be such a mediocre fast bowler. Steyn rocks, Steyn breathes fire!
From 2007 to 2014, Dale Steyn could easily be termed as the best fast bowler of modern era and his wicket-taking abilities at home and away, easily makes an all-time best customer. Especially, on the flat-decks of subcontinent, his guile had put chills down the spine of the best in business, but sadly, for the last three years, the going has not been rosy for Steyn.
Injuries threatened his existence in the international arena. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi or Vernon Philander may not have made us all miss the sight of a red-hot Steyn, but somewhere, an emptiness could always be felt.
The kind of aura, which Steyn brought into the game like a Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee, it would take time for Rabada to reach that level. The South African Black Panther is an absolute predator, when the mission is about hunting batters and is following the footsteps of Steyn – but in cricket, there is something about involving the whole world with you, when you are on song in the middle.
When Steyn ran towards the batsmen, for a moment, the time stopped and no matter how much important work you did, you would stop doing it, focus on an object of mass destruction, slowly unleashing his destructive qualities to create a havoc in 22-yards – destruction can be a piece of spectacle and like Malcolm Marshall, Allan Donald or Shoaib Akhtar, Steyn made destruction an art of joy for all. Like a Shoaib or Lee, he has been a rock star and a rock star just forces you to get involved with his actions. They are hard to ignore.
That is why the emptiness were felt. That rock star flavor was hugely missed. But it seems, the Steyngun is gradually coming back to his best. It was evident during the limited-overs series against Australia, where his accuracy and skill hinted of a better outcome. Yes, the pace has gone down a bit, even though he was quite lively in the Test series against Zimbabwe, but he does not hit the 145 kmph mark on a consistent basis. He hits the 130-135 kmph mark consistently at present and targeting the outside edge has become more important for him than banging in those lethal inswingers.
Also read: Dale Steyn and the art of not giving up
But it is guaranteed, despite the lack of pace, a fit Steyn won’t short of that rock star flavor. His followers are expecting him to rediscover his lost mojo at Centurion where the Proteas would play their Boxing Day Test against Pakistan. On South African soil, Steyn has always been an irresistible force and against Pakistan, he boasts a very good record. Meanwhile, Steyn is just one wicket away from becoming the all-time best wicket-taker in the Test history of South Africa. At present, he is level is Shaun Pollock’s 421 Test wickets.
With Philander and Ngidi being injured, it is expected, Steyn would share the new ball against Pakistan along with Kagiso Rabada on what is expected to be a lively wicket in Pretoria.
“Test matches are what really drive me to perform. If I can carry on playing Test cricket for as long as possible that will be great. There is a plenty of T20 cricket going on at the moment because that is where the money is at but I think that people will always know that test cricket is the real deal. I love the red-ball game,” Steyn told this to Sports24 in a recent interview.
Steyn would be given that old responsibilities to lead the attack and the greater the responsibilities, the better the best delivers. It is expected, Steyn would rediscover his old best in Centurion. He has still a lot to offer in Test cricket.