In what is being billed as a ‘spinners World Cup’, Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn says he isn’t concerned that conditions in India won’t suit him.
India’s opener against New Zealand, which they lost by 47 in Nagpur, made everyone sit up and take note as the usually assured players of spin succumbed to a trio of spinners utilised by the Black Caps.
Steyn, who has a very good Test record in India, praised New Zealand for their approach to that game but said South Africa know what their strengths are.
‘I’ve always said that I can bowl on anything,’ Steyn said. ‘I prefer the wickets that are slow and turning. The ball stops, it makes it tough for batters to hit you out of the ground. I guess New Zealand’s thinking was correct, it paid off for them in playing the three spinners. But we know what our strengths are.
As a seamer I back myself to bowl fast cutters,’ he continued. ‘It’s really difficult to hit the ball out of the ground when the ball is coming at 140km/h, 145km/h, it’s gripping and it’s stopping, you don’t have to worry about running in and bowling the perfect yorker. You can bowl a back-of-a-length ball, one might bounce and skid, one might stay low, it’s really tough to bat on those wickets.’
Steyn scoffed at the question about whether, at 32 years of age, he was slowing down.
‘No, I don’t think I’m slowing down,’ he said. ‘Age is just a number. It doesn’t really matter. I watched Brett Lee bowl 145km/h, 150km/h at 38; like it’s a number, really. I can do whatever I want to do as long as I’m fit and strong.
Looking ahead to South Africa’s opening match against England, who lost to the West Indies on Wednesday, Steyn said time out of the team (due to injuries) made him realise how much confidence the Proteas had after playing well against England in South Africa.
‘When I walked into the side for the Australia series I could see the guys were glowing with confidence. I was watching guys who normally sit on the sidelines, like Kyle Abbott and so, coming in, landing their yorkers, landing their slower balls and oozing confidence. It was great to be out of the side because when I walked back in I realised how much I had missed it and how much these guys have grown as a team, even in that two month gap.
‘I need to do what I need to do to win a game of cricket,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to say that we have the upper hand but we have beaten them [England] in the shorter format and they know it. Again, it’s T20 cricket.’