Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn’s honest reflections on contemporary issues in the game should not be overlooked, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The South African quick has always been one of the most down-to-earth competitors, putting his body on the line for many years in the colours of the Proteas.
Every interview or talk involving Steyn is always a treat to behold as he grips cricket lovers around the world with his fresh and honest approach.
His recent statements on Twitter come at a time when toxic debates, not only in South African cricket but also elsewhere, can be challenging for productive engagement online.
For one, the way he diplomatically yet emphatically put Simon Doull in his place certainly shook the online commentariat last week.
Steyn’s decision to rather play in smaller T20 leagues, like the Pakistan Super League instead of the IPL, fully demonstrates his desire to be of value to teams requiring experience above financial success.
‘I’ve only been here [in Pakistan] a couple of days and I’ve had people coming to my room asking where I played and how I went about it. In the IPL, that kind of gets forgotten and the main topic is how much money you went for for this IPL. And that’s just me being brutally honest,’ he stated recently.
Many might suggest that the IPL could be too draining on someone such as Steyn, who could be reaching the final stages of his career soon.
But his willingness to be involved in leagues not as recognised as the IPL says more about Steyn the human than Steyn the fiercesome bowler.
The current direction of T20 cricket has divided opinion for more than a decade now and the future of the game remains uncertain.
Should the emphasis continue to be on developing the sport through the shorter format, then Steyn’s approach is more than justified.
Most cricketing countries try to implement a sort of global T20 competition these days and it’s important that they all receive similar recognition to the IPL.
The difference, however, as Steyn pointed out, should be to create an environment where stars like him can add value to the development line, instead of playing for the cash.
By doing that Steyn, and many other cricketers, will aid the growth in country like Pakistan but, more importantly, maintain critical cricketing principles.
It’s easy to get lost in translation while watching a competition like the IPL, but if the game is to evolve and grow then true values should always weigh more than any financial gain.