Dale Steyn April 29, 2009

Blood, sweat and shoes

Ending a career, bowling endlessly - and in someone else's shoes

First time I drew blood by hitting a batsman
I hit Craig Cumming, the New Zealand opening batsman, in the face (in Centurion in the 2007-08 series) and he's never played Test cricket again.

First time I didn't sleep because I was excited about performing the next day
My debut Test. I can't remember having closed my eyes even for a moment.

First batsman who made me feel helpless
Actually two: Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, when they built the world-record partnership against us on my first trip to Sri Lanka in the very first Test. I can't remember the exact number of runs [624, for the third wicket] but it was a ridiculous amount. Mahela was on his way to breaking the record for the highest Test score, and we felt really helpless for two-and-a-half days.

First bowler about whom I thought, "I want to bowl like him"
Allan Donald. Before I even knew how Donald bowled, my friends in primary school had already named me "White Lightning" [Donald's nickname]. When I got to know who "White Lightning" was, I wanted to be like him.

First time I bowled in someone else's shoes
Polly [Shaun Pollock] used to be my shoe sponsor in my early years in Test cricket. I played my debut in my spikes but once he realised how bad they were, he started to give me his used boots.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi