Dale Steyn, who recently made a comeback to international cricket after a sequence of injuries, is doing all he can for a final hurrah at the ICC Men's World Cup 2019.
The veteran paceman, who returned 1/56 in Hampshire's victory over Kent in the final of the One-Day Cup, says the conditions in England are not always as pacer-friendly as is thought.
“I have just come back from England and I can assure you this. Everybody talks about how assistant wickets over there are towards fast bowlers. And I can guarantee you that’s not the case,” Steyn said.
“We played the One-Day Cup there and we actually won it, and I think we made over 300 against Somerset and lost that game. We made 375 (356), they chased that down. So the wickets aren’t exactly bowler friendly."
The experience should help him if he is in the mix for the World Cup. “So, you just got to adapt. You got to go there, look at the conditions, pick a side accordingly and then give it your all. That’s all that it boils down to,” acknowledged Steyn, who is six wickets away from 200 scalps in 50-over cricket.
when you go overseas, you’re sleeping in a pillow that’s not yours, you’re sleeping in a bed, you’re in a bus, you’re driven to a ground you’re unfamiliar with … really, you’re up against it
The South Africa are in the top five of the MRF Tyres ICC Men's Team Rankings in all three formats of the game. They recently toured Australia, where they won the three-match one-day international series with a margin of 2-1, and also clinched the one-off Twenty20 International.
“So we have been flying under the radar, but the players and the quality that we have had has still been fantastic," pointed out Steyn, who picked up seven wickets across the three ODIs. "For a long time, [the] South African side has been the No.1 ODI team in the world and the No.1 Test team in the world. So, in terms of development, we have actually been doing pretty OK.
“It’s always nice to beat Australia, especially in Australia. It’s nice to beat any team away from home. That’s the ultimate test for a lot of teams.
They [Rabada and Lungi] are on their own career paths and you have got to let them go about it; you can’t really take control of that because then you try to influence the way people play
“When you’re comfortable in your own house and you can drive from the ground back home and you can sleep in your own bed and rock up the next day and play cricket, you’re in a very comfortable space.
“But when you go overseas, you’re sleeping in a pillow that’s not yours, you’re sleeping in a bed, you’re in a bus, you’re driven to a ground you’re unfamiliar with … really, you’re up against it."
While the 35-year-old, the most experienced bowler in the Proteas unit, lauded the progress made by young South African speedsters like Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, saying that they must be given the space to develop the way they want.
“I think they’re already good enough,” said Steyn when asked if the two need his guidance at times. “They are on their own career paths and you have got to let them go about it. You can’t really take control of that because then you try to influence the way people play and what they do," said Steyn.
“You kind of let them do what they do and when they want guidance, they will come and ask and when you see something you feel like you can assist them with then you offer your knowledge. But for the most time, you got to let them play and let them go. They are becoming fantastic bowlers all on their own and just through being young and wanting to learn they ask questions anyway. So I don’t really have to do much.”
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