New Delhi [India], April 01 (ANI): Dale Steyn, South Africa’s 35-year-old pacer is widely regarded as the greatest fast bowler the country has produced. The pacer’s accuracy and speed have been his biggest strength on the cricketing field and despite his battle with constant injuries, his comeback trail on the pitch has been nothing short of remarkable. The pacer has taken 439 wickets in the Test format which made him the leading wicket-taker in the format for South Africa. Steyn has 196 and 61 wickets in the ODI’s and T20I format respectively.
In an exclusive chat with ANI, the pacer talked about what can possibly stop the Kolpak deals and he opens up about his possible future in the game and what is he seeking out of the Cricket World Cup which is scheduled to be played later this year.
South Africa were recently given a major setback as Duanne Olivier, their key performer in the recent series against Pakistan opted to end his South African career and opt for a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire. There have been many players who are choosing to opt for these deals and the pacer Steyn believes that this is an individual choice that a player makes and it is a major concern for Cricket South Africa.
“I think it is each person to themselves. I personally do not want to consider it. I know it is a concern for Cricket South Africa (CSA) and a very difficult one to stop. Maybe Brexit will prevent Kolpak deals from happening, who knows,” Steyn told ANI.
When one sees Steyn bowling, one can notice the passion the cricketer plays with. The pacer’s career has been hampered by injuries over the past few years, but his comeback trail has been one for the ages. The 35-year-old still looks to bowl fast and disturb the batsmen’s game in the middle. The pacer believes that he has taken his career as it comes and now he believes that maybe he was just to born to play the game of cricket. The player will now look to achieve the World Cup to end his career with achieving almost about everything. Steyn believes that winning the World Cup would be a huge thing for him and he expects the weather conditions to dictate the pitch situation in England and Wales.
“I am a competitive person by nature and maybe I was just born to do what I do. I would obviously love to win the World Cup for my country, I am expecting normal English conditions for the World Cup, but these conditions may vary according to the weather which will be present during the tournament,” Steyn said.
Steyn, went past Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 wickets which made him the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in the Test format. Steyn was tied at 421 with Pollock for a pretty long time but was not able to go past Pollock due to his reoccurring injuries. But Steyn finally went past the record in the month of December last year in a match against Pakistan. Steyn believes that his aim to achieve the record was a key motivator for him to get back into the team.
“It was amazing to get past Pollock, having the record to aim for was one of the motivating factors to try and get back on the field. It was a long and very tough time in rehab. I am just very happy to be back and contributing, many wrote me off saying that I would not get back, but I am very happy to have proved them wrong,” Steyn said.
South Africa are currently riding on a high as they recently defeated Sri Lanka in both the ODI and T20I series. The Proteas were able to clean sweep the visitors in both the formats. The pacer did not mention any single top contender for the tournament as any team can defeat the other on their given day, however, he mentioned that Australia, England, India would be the key teams to look out in the World Cup.
“There are many teams that can win the World Cup. England, Australia and India and more,” Steyn told ANI.
Recently, the incident of ‘Mankading’ surfaced in a match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. Punjab’s skipper Ravi Ashwin dismissed Jos Buttler, much to the dismay of the latter. The whole cricketing fraternity was seen divided on this issue and when Steyn was asked to comment on this, he told ANI “I have said my bit on Twitter, I do not really want to comment more on this.”
Following the incident, the pacer took to Twitter to express his views on the whole issue.
“He ain’t winning any spirit of cricket awards is old Ashwin,” said one tweet.
“So here’s a Mankad suggestion. Why not get the 3rd umpire to check the front foot for no balls, if he/she notices a batter leaving their ground prior to delivery he/she can then issue either a warning or 5 penalty runs. If the batter continues, Mankad comes in no worries,” Steyn said in another tweet.
Steyn would look to keep producing winning performances for South Africa and he would hope to be an X-Factor for the team in the upcoming World Cup.
South Africa take on the hosts England in the opening match of the World Cup on May 30. (ANI)