‘Wisden’ player of the year Steyn to get special care

2014-04-10 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — Dale Steyn, who yesterday became only the second South African honoured as the respected Wisden cricket yearbook’s top player of the year, will be handled with care until the World Cup tournament in Australasia next year.

The Proteas’ top pace bowler again showed his match-winning abilities during the recent T20 World tournament in Bangladesh and he will be used judiciously, said Proteas bowling coach Allan Donald.

He said Steyn is already 30 years old and they will have to weigh up his workload carefully.

“Russell [Domingo] has already spoken to him and thrashed out a programme with him,” said Donald.

“We will keep an eye on him because he is the leader of our pack.”

Steyn became the second South African after Jacques Kallis (2007) to be honoured with the “cricket bible’s” highest award over the past decade.

He is, after Andrew Flintoff, who was honoured mainly for his versatility, also the first pace bowler to receive the prestigious award.

Donald, who in 1992 was one of Wisden’s five players of the year, said the choice could not have gone to a better player. “The consistency Dale has shown over the last couple of years has been an example. He has won many matches for us,” said Donald.

According to the Wisden yearbook, Steyn’s 51 wickets in nine Tests (averaging 17) last year made him 2013’s Player of the Year.

It also said his bowling economy of 3,65 was the lowest among the bowlers who bowled more than 100 overs in One-Day Internationals.

Wisden editor Lawrence Booth said it also does not appear as if Steyn has lost any of his enthusiasm.

Steyn says people probably will not understand how much he likes to take wickets. He is addicted to it and hopes there will still be many years to do so.

His 6/8 against Pakistan in the first Test at the Wanderers was highlighted by his now famous chainsaw cele­bratory action after each of the wickets he took.

The veins in his temple were also bulging during the decisive second Test against India in Durban.

His performance (6/100) on a tame Kingsmead pitch, which suited the visiting team more during the first innings of that Test, was Steyn’s highlight of the year, reported ESPNCriconfo.com. This was particularly so after he was jeered during the previous Test when it was decided to put on the brakes in the run-chasing race for a victory.

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