Dale Steyn says 500 Test wickets is a realistic target for him and he wants to prove people wrong about the age at which fast bowlers should retire.
In an interview with ESPNCricinfo’s The Cricket Monthly, the 32-year-old Steyn says he is still the fittest player in the team and nowhere near quitting the game.
‘My heart is pounding. My mind is fine. My body is unbelievably strong,’ Steyn said. ‘I am 32, but I am still the fittest guy in the team. I want to challenge myself and the people who say fast bowlers generally retire at 33, 34. That is bullshit. I can retire at 38 if I want. I watched Brett Lee at 38 or something, bowling 145kph in Big Bash. I remember thinking: this guy can still play international cricket. But whether he wants to put himself through it is a different story. I kind of do.’
Steyn said he was concerned about the future of fast bowling and has urged cricket’s administrators to treat fast bowlers equal to batsmen.
‘You need people to be able to bowl at 160kph,’ he said. ‘You need people who take five wickets. You need people who bowl 150kph on day five to keep that inspiration up for future kids. I can do that. But we need help from whoever runs world cricket.’
Steyn said that if the pitches, money and resources were not in favour of fast bowlers, he feared ‘fast bowling would disappear’ as the future generation of players would turn their attention to the more lucrative and easier art of batting.
‘If the IPL is all about guys getting US$2 million for hitting the ball out of the ground, then who wants to bowl fast? You need a fast bowler that is earning that in the IPL,’ said Steyn, who will play for the Gujarat Lions in the 2016 IPL tournament, having been bought by the new franchise for Rs 2.3 crores (approximately US$336,000).
‘You need pitches where players are able to take ten wickets. You need [bowling] heroes in the game, where kids can say, “I want to be that guy. I don’t just want to be AB de Villiers. I don’t just want to be Virat Kohli”. Otherwise, bowling is going to disappear.’