Dale Steyn – Cricket is not the same especially the red-ball cricket like it was when the bowler of your calibre has charged up and gazed into the batsman's eyes to push the batsman’s greatness into the shambles. What exactly defines the criteria of bowling supremacy of bowler. The records of a bowler or his stand-out abilities to make the opposition dance on his tunes. As per the records there are a handful of bowlers who have dominated this cricket for the period of time but if we look into the stand-out abilities of a bowler, the name of a former South African fast bowler will always be in the top three greatest bowlers of all-time.
It is still vivid in my mind when Dale Steyn announced himself in the most complete way against England in 2004.
Pace, bounce, Rhythm and swing Dale Steyn was gifted with all these abilities who has not just rocket launched his era but also saved South Africa after great Allan Donald and took it to almost unparalleled heights. I have heard stories of great West Indies bowling line-up in my childhood but never watched them live. Now I can say this by taking every liberty that I haven't seen great West Indies bowling of the 70s or 80s but I have seen Dale Steyn at his best like no other.
Dale Steyn :
Tests - 93
Innings - 171
Wickets - 439
Avg - 22.95
Strike rate - 42.39
Best - 7/51
4w - 27
5w - 26
10w - 5
In Test cricket's 142 years annals, no one has a satisfactory roster than him.
Even the former great fast bowler of his era Michael Holding has said once,
“I have experience with those three guys (Marshall, Roberts and Lillee, but just watching, you can’t see Dale Steyn outside of photography. He has been one of the great fast bowlers in an era. You’d pay to see it,” said Holding, who picked 249 wickets in 60 Tests at 23.68.
Lillee had it all: rhythm, aggression control. He was extremely fast when he started, but he had to completely reshape his action after a back injury and find different ways to get hitters out after losing a lot of rhythm.
When you see that someone can adapt in that way, you have to rate him highly, as many players are not as effective when they miss a beat,” said Holding, who was nicknamed ‘Whispering Death’ for his smooth and silent run-up.
“Malcolm started with a good rhythm, but as time went on he learned a lot about fast bowling. He could evaluate opposition hitters so quickly and so easily.
“In those days you didn’t have many tapes or computers, it was all in his head. He understood how to deal with hitters.”
Andy was someone I learned a lot from. He hardly ever spoke, he used to walk around the field with a sullen face and people thought he looked aggressive and must be a miserable guy. But that wasn’t Andy.
“He was my roommate for most of my career and we used to talk about cricket almost every night. A lot of times, we would order food, we would stay in our room and talk about cricket. You would never believe how much this guy knows.”