Dale Steyn may have hung up his Test whites but he is determined to play his way into the Proteas’ plans for the forthcoming T20I World Cup in Australia, writes SM HUSSAIN.
Steyn is currently in Pakistan for the PSL V 2020 where he represents Islamabad United. It’s all part of his plan to work his way into the national T20 squad for October’s World Cup.
Conversations with Mark Boucher and Quinton de Kock have reinvigorated his desire for another shot at glory with South Africa.
‘For me, it’s all about 2020 right now, a couple of months ago I didn’t quite see myself going to the World Cup really, then I had a good conversation with Mark and Quinton and that’s the goal now.
‘I really want to put myself up there and fight for a place to go for the World Cup.
‘This year it’s all about 2020 – coming here, playing and just getting more experience even though I’ve played 200 games, it really doesn’t matter; you just want to get into “2020 form” you know, and that’s what I’ve got this year which is a bonus. I’m not playing Test matches and I’m not gonna play much ODI cricket, so it’s all about four overs, my strengths, what I’m going to do and then hopefully take that into the World Cup in October … it’s gonna be a good year of 2020 cricket,’ he said.
The last time the 36-year-old was in Pakistan, he tore into the Pakistan lineup with figures of 5-56 in the second innings of Karachi Test in 2007. The Proteas won that match by 160 runs.
Steyn is hoping those good memories can turn into replicated performances.
‘Its been a very long time, 2007, thirteen years ago. I actually took a fiver on this ground [Karachi], we won that Test match and managed to draw the next one in Lahore and ended up winning the series. My only trip to Pakistan was quite a success for the Proteas, but this time around it’s been a lot of fun; I’ve really enjoyed playing here, the crowds have been fantastic.’
The South African’s experience are likely to be soaked up by his teammates although he opts to teach by example set on the pitch instead of trying something new.
‘Obviously, anytime you play you want to perform and have great results; if I can get a fiver or three wickets on Saturday [against Karachi Kings] that would be amazing, kinda wind back the clock when I last played in Karachi,’ he said.
‘I’ve enjoyed working with the younger bowlers, they are full of enthusiasm, they’ve spent some time with the greats – Wasim and Waqar and they talk highly of those guys, which is great, and I think they have so much talent. Pakistan has a rich history of great fast bowlers, I certainly don’t want to come here and reinvent the wheel for these youngsters. I just want to share my experience that I’ve had through my international career and if something they can take out of that and learn from that, bonus! If not, it’s not a problem.
‘At the end of the day I also want to learn, these guys play here all the time and I’ve been here after thirteen years so for me to come here I also want to learn as quickly as possible so I can do well on the field; it’s a good sharing kind of environment that we’ve got right now.’
Islamabad United will lock horns with the Karachi Kings on Saturday, 14 March in a crucial PSL match and Steyn is gearing up for that all-important meeting.
‘We had a couple of games rained off, [we were] probably on the wrong end of the toss a couple of times, you know, Pindi [Rawalpindi] being one of the highest-scoring grounds in the tournament – almost like 9.8 runs an over has been made there, ideally you’d like to be chasing there so a couple of factors didn’t go our way, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter because it’s quite nice that we are in a situation where if we win one game we will be in the playoffs. So, it’s a big game for us on Saturday,’ says Steyn.
A big game in what is shaping up to a big year.
– SM Hussain is a freelance cricket writer based in Pakistan. He can be found on Twitter: @CaughtAtPoint