Dale Steyn expects Kagiso Rabada to break his record of most Test wickets for South Africa.
Steyn, who announced his retirement from all cricket on Tuesday, took 439 wickets in 93 Tests at an incredible average of 22.95 and a strike rate of 42.3.
Rabada (26) currently occupies eighth position on South Africa’s all-time wicket-taking list, with 213 after 47 Tests, at an even better average of 22.75 and strike rate of 41.2.
“I think he will,” said Steyn, when asked if Rabada would surpass his wickets tally, during a lengthy interview with RMS Advisory Global.
“More importantly, will South Africa, after Covid, play as many Test matches as we used to and allow him to get there? He probably will anyway, but if we do play a similar number of Tests then he definitely – fitness permitting.
“He’s just a phenomenal athlete and a wicket-taking machine,” Steyn added. “So if Test cricket maintains its status and T20 cricket doesn’t continue its march to take over the calendar, then he will definitely take the record. There’s no question in my mind.”
Steyn was also asked how many wickets he would have taken had he played as many Tests as England’s James Anderson (who had taken 630 after 165 Tests).
“Jimmy is a machine and he’s just got bowling down to a tee,” said Steyn. “He’s just unbelievable how he keeps going and how he still wants to keep going during this period now. It’s just intense. He wants to keep performing and he’s fit, and he wants to prove that you can be 40, I suppose even 40-plus, and still do what you love doing at the very highest level. Imran Tahir is another great example of that.
“I would have loved to keep going but – physically it wasn’t an issue – I just felt like mentally it was becoming an issue. In South Africa, we don’t have the luxury of what the guys in the UK do where you can retire from certain formats to concentrate on others, so that’s why I had to step away from all international cricket. I would have preferred to carry on playing white-ball.
“How many wickets would I have taken in that many Tests? I don’t know, a lot probably [laughs] but only if I’d maintained my strike rate which would probably have been impossible over 165 Tests. It would have tapered off eventually.
“We all get old. Except for Jimmy, who seems to be getting better, like a good red wine.”
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