Steyn plays down wicket milestone
Taking 300 Test wickets appears to be par for the course for South Africa’s Dale Steyn who reached the milestone at Newlands in Cape Town this week.
“I play a lot of games for South Africa and bowl a lot of overs,” he said after the team’s crushing victory over New Zealand by an innings and 27 runs on Friday.
“The way I see it — if you’re going to do that, and you stay fit — you will get wickets. If I was a batter, like Hashim Amla, I would be scoring runs so it follows naturally.”
Going into the Test on Wednesday with 299 wickets under his belt, Steyn was pleased with the outswinger which removed Doug Bracewell to reach his landmark 300, but admitted he had been pushing too hard for a wicket.
After watching new ball partner Vernon Philander take five wickets for just seven runs earlier in the innings — which saw the Black Caps all out for 45 — Steyn felt the frustration of not getting into the act sooner.
“With the start Vernon had, I was guilty of fishing for a couple of wickets,” he admitted.
“I was one short of 300 and I thought I had better get into the game.
"Graeme [Smith] realised what was happening and pulled me in after four overs and put me on after Vernon, which was very clever captaincy.”
Steyn, officially ranked as the top Test bowler in the world, became the fourth South African and 25th of all time, to have taken 300 wickets in Test cricket.
His achievement came in his 61st Test and only Dennis Lillee (56) and Muttiah Muralitharan (58) achieved the mark in fewer matches.
He said he was blessed with a smooth action and tended to suffer fewer injuries than most other fast bowlers.
He hoped, with the correct management of his career, it was far from over and he would keep producing the results.
“I was stoked — it was awesome — but I’ve got a lot more to offer in the game,” he said.
“I’ve got another Test match to play in Port Elizabeth a few days from now and I’ve still got a few more years of cricket in these legs.”
Steyn attributed much of his success to his team-mates and the understanding of the roles each of the bowlers played. He had also learnt to pick and choose when he needed to force his pace.
“We’ve learnt to adapt and switch roles when necessary whereas a couple of years ago I was conscious of strike rates and always wanted to take wickets and lead the attack,” he said.
“Now, this attack is led by everyone. Morne Morkel has opened the bowling on a number of occasions and Vernon has stepped in and stood up to the plate. Jacques Kallis is a legend in his own right and we have had some good spinners. This team is an incredible team to be part of right now.”