Dale Steyn says he wants to focus more on Test cricket and save himself for the big tournaments ‘rather than wasting the few balls I have left in my career in a Bangladesh match.’
In a revealing interview with Wisden India, Steyn shot straight from the hip after he was asked why he had only played 78 ODIs in a career spanning more than a decade and if he had played too few in the interest of preserving him?
‘No, I don’t have a number, man. I don’t want to play more ODIs, I don’t want to play less ODIs,’ said Steyn.
‘I like to play cricket. I love playing Test cricket and I know that my days are numbered with regards to how many Test matches I’m going to have left, so I’d prefer to play a lot more Test cricket.’
Steyn turns 32 in June and although his chances of playing in another World Cup in four years’ time seem slim at best, he hasn’t totally given up on the idea.
‘It might sound very cocky or naïve of me, or self-centred, but I want to win a World Cup for my country. And they only come around once every four years. If you’re playing in the T20 World Cup, luckily they come around every year.
‘So with all due respect to places like Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, going and playing three ODIs in Bangladesh does nothing for my confidence as opposed to knowing that I’m going to a World Cup.
‘At this stage of my career, I’d rather be saving myself to go and participate in the major tournaments, rather than wasting the few balls I have left in my career in a Bangladesh match. I’d rather go to Bangladesh to help and support future South African bowlers, and use what is left of the 10 000 or 20 000 deliveries that I have left in my body for the big tournament.
‘That’s where I’m at personally. But at the beginning of my career, I would have done everything. I would have gone every tournament and to every place. But I’ve done it all now.’
South Africa tour Bangladesh in July where they will play two T20s, three ODIs and two Tests. Steyn’s comments may suggest that he will be looking to skip the first part of the tour and only be considered for the Test matches.
His comments raised some eyebrows and caused a stir on Twitter, where many Bangladesh cricket fans attacked Steyn for what he said.
He later responded to the criticism with the following tweet on his Twitter profile:
I see some people have misunderstood what I said in a recent interview… Sorry if u feel offended, now go re read and try understand. Peace
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) May 11, 2015