Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn has credited the way former captain Graeme Smith used and exploited him over the years to become South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Test-match cricket.
Steyn was speaking on The Pitch Side Experts podcast – hosted by former West Indies fast bowlerr Ian Bishop and Australian Tom Moody – when he acknowledged Smith, who was his captain for the major part of his career.
‘I have always had a great captain. The bulk of the wickets I took in cricket came under one captain, which was really good because you build up a great relationship and that captain uses you as a particular weapon,’ said the 36-year-old.
Steyn made his debut for the Proteas on Test level against Michael Vaughan’s England team in December 2004 and would go on to become one of the great pace bowlers in history.
He led the Proteas’ bowling under Smith’s captaincy when South Africa began dominating Test cricket for a number of years, claiming significant series wins in Australia, England and India.
Steyn uses the example of how quickly Smith would hand him the ball to strike directly after another bowler had just picked up a wicket and was high on confidence.
‘It was that kind of relationship with one particular captain over many years and just knowing when and how to use me that made me have the kind of statistics that I am lucky to have. Had it been another captain I might not have had the same returns.’
Steyn announced his retirement from Test and ODI cricket last year, following the Proteas’ disastrous World Cup campaign in England but have since focused on the T20 format, where he has been playing in the Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League.
He was also part of the Proteas squads that faced England and Australia in the shortest format over the summer, making his intensions clear to be part of Mark Boucher’s group that goes to Australia for the World Cup in October.
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