Steyn likely to join SA A-tour of UK
While the legendary former Australian legspinner Shane Warne has branded England’s decision to rest the lanky fast bowler Stuart Broad a joke, another legend is shrugging off the rust and improving his times in the beep tests to ensure he is ready to represent the country in England.
Although Dale Steyn has set his sights only on representing South Africa A in England in June, his presence in the United Kingdom might cause Andrew Strauss, director of England cricket, considerably more discomfort than Warne’s ridicule of England’s decision to wrap Broad in proverbial cotton-wool.
Warne says Broad, a veteran of 102 tests who dismantled South Africa with his 6-17 at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in the 2015/2016 tour, should be given the opportunity to find his rhythm early.
Strauss and the head coach Trevor Bayliss denied Broad’s request to play in a four-day match for Nottingham against Durham.
They want Broad’s appearances to be rationed with 14 tests and 30 white-ball-games over the next year.
“I can’t believe Broad has been told not to play – that’s a joke. It’s cotton wool stuff and the player is going to get the hump – and you want a happy player,” a disgruntled Warne said.
Steyn was anything but disgruntled the past month while his rehabilitation after a shoulder injury gathered steam.
“My rehab is going well. I have done beep training for a month or so. I am running fit. Planning to go on South Africa A-trip in June,” Steyn said.
Asked if he would be able to return to the express pace of 145 km/h which made him such a formidable foe in his prime, Steyn said: “Hopefully, I feel good. The shoulder rehabilitation has been good. It feels stronger every week.”
But Steyn did not want to be drawn into comparisons with the England swing bowler James Anderson, who has struck 467 times in 122 tests with 21 five-wicket hauls.
“I am not interested in that. I just want to play again,” he said.
Steyn has produced 26 five-wicket hauls in his career.
On his previous tour to England, Vernon Philander finished the strongest, taking 5-30 at Lord’s in the final test.
Yet Steyn was the leading wicket-taker, capturing 15 scalps at an average of 29.20 on that 2012 tour.
Asked about his goals for the next 18 months, Steyn was blunt and forthright in his assessment: “I want to play cricket for South Africa. I am nearly ready,” he added.
Asked whether he has an affinity for the ball used in England, Steyn remarked: “The Duke ball swings. It gives me a chance,” he added.
When Steyn is in full cry, he has the ability to run through opposing teams with his ability to swing the ball late at pace, by introducing the leg-cutter to left-arm batsmen and by using reverse swing to dismantle lower orders.
Once he gets a sniff by nipping out two or three batsmen quickly and his signature chainsaw celebrations has the crowd celebrating gleefully, he kicks into a different gear and becomes an unstoppable force.