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'The best South Africa has ever produced'
Part 1: Allan Donald on the most intimidating bowlers he has seen: Dale Steyn, the racehorse
Producer: Gokul Chakravarthy, Interviewer: Nagraj Gollapudi
May 14, 2013
'The best South Africa has ever produced'May 14, 2013
What can you say about Dale Steyn? Goodness me! I've now got the pleasure of working with Dale. Nobody better right now in world cricket that can run through an attack when he's got his tail up. There is nobody better.
Just his overall run-up, to me, he's a racehorse. He's got the most beautiful run-up, just glides in. He's a bit like Michael Holding in a sense; maybe not as graceful, but not far away. He has a fantastic action. He's not a tall guy. He's a skiddy bowler.
I think his greatest asset is the ability to swing the ball away from the right-handers, but it is the length he bowls that gets people in trouble. It's a fuller length than normal. You can't get to him. You can't get a big stride to him. He suffocates you in the crease, and that's where he gets people nicked off, because he bowls a fuller length and swings it at high pace.
The one thing we're trying to work very hard on right now is the fact that his first spell has got to be the best spell and the quickest spell.
I think that he had a spell - a duel with Paul Collingwood - in Cape Town. It was a Test match I commented on, a Test match in which England were in trouble. Steyn went past the outside edge probably four times an over in which he bowled at 148-150kph without any luck. I think it was one of those spells where you deserve a six-for or a seven-for. But it didn't quite work out. England managed to draw the game right at the death, being nine-down. That was probably one of the best spells I've seen without any results.
I think the other spell, for me, was against New Zealand recently in Port Elizabeth, where he bowled at the speed of light and knocked over five the night before. That was on a real placid St George's wicket. The New Zealanders in that series made sure not to upset Steyn, not to get his eyes going, because once you do that, there's only a one-way ticket.
I think there is no question that Dale Steyn in the best South Africa has ever produced. He has flown past 330-odd wickets now. I hope he is going to take 500-plus wickets for South Africa. I think he will go past the most Test wickets ever by any South African. The rate he is taking it at is just phenomenal. You're talking about four, five wickets per innings, which is just staggering. And he's gone past 20 five-wicket hauls, five ten-wicket hauls, he's got the the best strike rate - of 41 [for bowlers who have taken more than 150 wickets].
I think his main contribution is the length he bowls. It's a length that is normally fuller than others. Where some people will hit the deck in the five- six-yard area, or shall I say the eight-yard area, Steyn goes into the six-yard area and he gets it to swing away. I think that's hard to get to and that's what gets most people out.
If you ask a lot of batters across the world, they'll say that's the toughest thing to face - to face Dale Steyn.
For me, among South Africans, you talk about Brett Schultz, Shaun Pollock and this guy. This guy's just got everything that no South African has had. You talk about "white-line fever" - he loves to overstep the mark and provoke a reaction. He's not scared of a word or two.
I think that his greatest contribution to the team is that he's fit all the time. You know, we don't take that for granted, ever.
He's working on his inswinger. He's working very hard on that, he's brought that into his game slowly. That's another piece of his game that he's going add to, especially at the Test match level. That's going to be hard to deal with.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest bowler South Africa has ever had.
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