Dale Steyn is absolutely committed to playing for South Africa ‘for as long as I can’ and to go on to take 500 Test wickets.
The Proteas quick, who is playing county cricket for Hampshire in a bid to prove his form and fitness ahead of selection for South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka next month, says he has a commitment from national coach Ottis Gibson that ‘a fit Dale Steyn is in the XI’.
He has been out of action since injuring his heel in the first Test against India in January.
‘I want to achieve certain things in my career. A hundred Test matches would be amazing and 500 wickets would be incredible,’ he told George Dobell of ESPNCricinfo.
‘It would be amazing to play in the World Cup. But you have to play white-ball cricket to be good at white-ball cricket. Hopefully I can get some white-ball games this year leading into December and put my hand up for the spot in that World Cup team next year.’
His first target is selection for the Test team, and overtaking Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 wickets for South Africa. He now sits on 419.
‘Gibson’s assured me that a fit Dale Steyn is in the XI and I’m taking his word on that. Hopefully I can get the nod and can go on to get past Polly’s record – that’s been in the back of my mind for two-and-a-half years now – and achieve some of the personal goals I want to achieve, too.
‘At my age [he turns 35 this month] I want to play a lot of cricket. I think I can push it until I’m 38, maybe even 39, and start drifting this way [to county cricket] around that age.
He is playing his first first-class cricket since January against Surrey (featuring Morne Morkel) while he is not quite at his best just yet, declared himself satisfied with the progress he was making.
‘The body is feeling good,’ he said. ‘I got through 26 overs in the first innings which was pretty good but more than I thought I would have to bowl.
‘You obviously want more wickets but I don’t want to judge myself right now. Coming back from injury I want to make sure I can play without picking up another injury which is more important to me. I felt it was okay.
‘I should be good to go for Sri Lanka if selected. I just needed to play some cricket.’