Dashing Dale ‘up there with the best ever’

2010-12-27 00:00

DALE Steyn’s standing as the best bowler in the world is in little doubt, and his incisive four-wicket burst yesterday was just the latest offering from the Proteas’ ace in the pack.

“It takes a hell of a lot of skill to bowl like that,” he cheekily retorted when asked how he produces the seemingly effortless swing that is his trademark.

“No, to be serious, I am quite lucky to be able to bowl like that,” he added with a more serious tone.

“I think that I have been very lucky to play with some real giants of the game, guys like Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Mark Boucher behind the stumps,” he reflected.

The Steyn of 2010 is fiercely competitive, and yet exudes a calm confidence of a stealthy killer.

“I have learnt a lot from having listened to those guys around me with all that experience, and I now know that it is more important to focus on the team goal is more important than my own,” he said.

“I used to think that I would take care of myself and get wickets, but the best thing that I have done over the last few years is open my ears and really listen.”

Steyn’s standing was confirmed by VVS Laxman, who knows a thing or two about quality pacemen.

“He and Morne Morkel are definitely up there with some of the best combinations that I have faced,” the silky veteran offered.

Laxman makes batting look ridiculously easy at times, and he looked in fine touch while he was still at the crease.

Well, at least until Lonwabo Tsotsobe entered the fray.

“I actually took three wickets today, because ‘Lopsy’ took that other one,” Steyn chuckled.

“He can occasionally fall asleep on the field, but that was just an incredible catch.”

Tsotsobe has been under pressure coming into this game, and the comparative veteran that is Steyn sympathised with the left-armer.

“He was always going to be the guy they would target, bowling behind Morne Morkel and I,” he explained.

“I thought he bowled quite well at Centurion, but he had very little luck. He created a lot of chances, but sometimes the game goes like that.”

Certainly, Tsotsobe would have slept a whole lot better last night, having taken two wickets to go with his ridiculous piece of fielding.

Steyn, ever aware of the bigger picture, said the Proteas still have plenty to do in the Test.

“We have had a good day, but we still need to stay patient and bowl them out,” he said.

The Kingsmead track, sporting a greenish tinge, certainly had life in it, and Steyn said it is important for the Proteas to keep bowling to their plans.

“We have plans for each of their guys, and I think Graeme [Smith] has set very good fields, so we just have to keep doing what we are doing.

“With a guy like MS Dhoni still in, he can take the game away from us, so we need to hit our areas again to bowl them out. We need to treat their bowlers like we did their top-order, and that should be enough.”

While Laxman said 250 would be a decent total, Steyn wasn’t bothered by figures.

“We aren’t too worried about what they could score. If we bowl like we did, that should be good enough for us.”

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