January 20, 2011

No one like Steyn

He's the only one today who matches up to Lillee, Thommo, Maco, Wasim, Waqar and the other fast-bowling greats of the past
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It took India's batsmen just a couple of hours on the opening day of the Test series, in Centurion, to figure out how they would deal with Dale Steyn. They wouldn't. Four of the top six averaged over 50 in Tests, while the figure for VVS Laxman was 47. Yet, one spell was enough to figure out that taking Steyn on wasn't an option. Limiting the damage that he did would henceforth be the key to their series hopes.

It was a sensible decision that allowed MS Dhoni and his men to walk away with a share of the spoils. Yet, despite taking next to no risks against him, Steyn was still, by a distance, the bowler of the series. His 21 wickets cost just 17.47 apiece and he averaged one every spell (35.4 balls).

His domination of Virender Sehwag was as one-sided as Zaheer Khan's roughing up of Graeme Smith, and he was no less effective against India's other batting titans. When a stirring Indian fightback gave them a slim chance of a draw in the opening Test, it was Steyn who summoned up a spell of supreme menace to break the game open. The delivery that ended Dhoni's resistance late on the fourth afternoon was clocked at 144.9kph and was on him so fast that he did well to fend it through to Mark Boucher.

At Kingsmead, where he took 6 for 50 in the first innings, and Newlands (5 for 75 in the first), Steyn was again imperious, but there was far more to his bowling than the figure in the wickets column. He beat the bat too many times to count, reducing even someone of Sachin Tendulkar's calibre to wry grins and sighs of relief. At one point in Cape Town, he walked down the pitch and politely told Tendulkar that he would "knock his ****ing head off".

That spell in Cape Town - it speaks volumes of Tendulkar's genius that he made 146 against such a magnificent foe - was as good as any you'll see. It offered pretty much the complete fast bowling package. Beautifully controlled outswing, nasty bouncers at the body, the ball cutting off the seam, and stealthy increments in pace when you thought he was just about spent.

Those who grew up in fast bowling's golden era between 1974-75 - the year in which Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson terrorised England en route to a 4-1 Ashes victory - and the turn of the new millennium frequently bemoan the decline in fast-bowling stocks. They have a point. How many of today's West Indian quicks would have been good enough to carry drinks in the era of the fearsome quartet? How many of Australia's current crop are even half as good as Jason Gillespie, let alone Glenn McGrath? What's Wahab Riaz doing in a team that could once boast of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis?

Only in the case of English cricket can you say that things are better than they used to be, though Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick would no doubt argue that they would have been as effective as James Anderson in key matches if they'd had a similar sort of support structure in place.

You look around now, and Steyn apart, there's not one pace bowler you'd think of as an automatic pick for the pantheon. Morne Morkel, his new-ball partner, remains erratic, while Anderson and Stuart Broad have yet to ace the fast bowler's toughest test: a tour of India. Zaheer Khan has carried India's attack for four years, bowling some inspirational spells, but given the fitness issues he has had it's hard to see him carrying on for more than a couple of seasons.

Across the border, the Mohammads, Amir and Asif, have all the tools to succeed, but not the guidance off the field to utilise them properly. Amir, whose effervescence lit up a gloomy English summer before the no-ball shame, had the potential to be as good as Steyn, combining searing pace with controlled movement.

For the moment, though, Phalaborwa's finest is out in front on his own. After 46 Tests he has 238 wickets, at a strike rate (39.9) that's superior to anyone else in the modern era. And while sheer pace has played its part, it has gone hand in hand with an incredible ability to make the ball do his bidding. At Kingsmead he was asked how much skill it took to bowl the way he did. "A lot," he said with a big grin.

In a conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar, I asked why several young batsmen who appeared at ease in the one-day arena struggled so in the five-day game. "Simple," he said. "There, you don't have to face the prospect of Dale Steyn bowling three hostile spells at you in a day"

Those who watched his debut series, when he was as scattergun as Morkel is now, will remember the delivery to England's Michael Vaughan in Port Elizabeth; the ball that marked him out as one to watch. He has come up with it time and again since, including to Vaughan again, at Lord's in 2008. Poor Cheteshwar Pujara got one in Cape Town, pitching on leg stump and poised to take out middle and off if his pads hadn't come in the way.

It's the sort of delivery that coaches usually tell bowlers not to even try. Get it wrong and the batsman will clip you for four through midwicket. Get the action even slightly wrong and four byes down the leg side are a near certainty. Yet Steyn serves it up regularly, pitching it on leg or middle and swinging it away from the right-hander. When it doesn't uproot the stumps, it usually takes the outside edge, as Rahul Dravid found out in Durban.

Unlike Morkel, who gives you plenty to leave because of his height, Steyn specialises in making batsmen play. In that, he's remarkably similar to Malcolm Marshall, another who wasn't especially tall, but whose skiddy style made him a handful on every kind of surface.

In six Tests in 1983, Marshall took 33 Indian wickets at 18.81, striking every 40 balls. Steyn's strike rate in India after five Tests is 34.5, and when he gets it right, as in Nagpur in February 2010, batsmen make a beeline for the non-striker's end.

Like Allan Donald, the other great fast bowler South Africa produced in the post-isolation era, Steyn is far more comfortable in the Test arena than in coloured clothes, where the various restrictions stifle him. In a conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar a few months ago, I asked why several young batsmen who appeared at ease in the one-day arena struggled so in the five-day game. "Simple," he said. "There, you don't have to face the prospect of Dale Steyn bowling three hostile spells at you in a day."

He didn't say "fast bowler". He said "Steyn". From the rhythmic action to the way he works a batsman over and then gets him out, Steyn is now the gold standard for pace. Since Marshall's heyday, we've seen a few. Wasim came closest in terms of hustle and variety. Waqar shone in patches but was never the same once he hurt his back. Curtly Ambrose was impossible to face on his day, but took longer to line up his victims.

Some credit goes too to the South African selectors and their management of his precious talent. In six years, he's played just 44 one-day games. Contrast that with someone like Ishant Sharma if you want to know why each Indian pace-bowling hope ends up a flash in the pan.

Ian Chappell talks of how Lillee used to go into a funk if you tried to take the ball off him. Steyn is the same, and at one press conference during the India Tests, he spoke of begging Smith to give him "one more". It's that durability and hunger, as much as the skill, that makes him the perfect role model for any aspiring quick bowler. Watch him while you can. There's no one like him.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BillyCC on January 23, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    ARad, I take your point and a lot of other people will also state that criteria as an important one for judging greatness. It is that reason alone which holds guys like Lillee, Marshall, Garner on a higher standing than McGrath, Walsh, Hadlee etc. Whether it's a right criteria to use is debatable, but that's probably not for this forum. The point is, Steyn has a long way to go to generate the same level of fear and stress that the other guys mentioned above do. The reason is, because when he's not taking wickets, he giving away plenty of runs which releases the fear and stress. The other guys were able to stifle the runs and build the pressure, allowing not only themselves but their partners to get the wickets.

  • CricFan24 on January 23, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    @mahjut.Well, It is not just Kallis. Ponting,Dravid and a whole host of batsmen had their best years in the mid 2000s. In the '90s not too many batsmen did too well.Infact if you consider batsmen who played for the whole of the '90s just 3 average more than 50.And that is just one of numerous variables I am referring to.Kallis is an alltime great, but unfortunately he misses out on the very top rung of batsmen.As with all top sport the margins between the GOAT (or the very,very great) is normally miniscule.(It is perhaps only in cricket where you have a Bradman with a freakish average).. But that doesn't mean that it is not there. A Carl Lewis may win by 2/100ths of a second .But he will win most times. And the fans and others "Know" this...Kallis is Great , but not "That" great a batsman as the South African fans here are attempting to pump him up to be.l

  • ARad on January 23, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    One thing that determines the greatness of a bowler is the excitement he generates when he comes in for a spell. Since Murali's retirement, there is only one bowler in the international arena who generates such excitement for me. Even if he doesn't take wickets, Steyn truly tests the opposing batsmen - Test cricket at its best! Thank you Steyn and keep yourself injury free...

  • mahjut on January 23, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    I have noticed this trend of assuming one can only be judicious in criticism - it can be done in praise to. Kallis's average as a bolwer is very good (I never suggested it was great - but his average is better than a LOT of test bowlers around today). Stating facts is not evidence of being judicious and stating an opinion as a fact is evidence to the contrary...It is not a fact that he will always be second rung to Tendulkar and Lara (I happen to think that he probably is not as good as Tendulkar - but even still, i think I could conjure an arguement...one eg: ST played with 3/4 other VERY talented batsmen and Kallis is only 'enduring' that luxury now .. and is flourishing in every sense - battingwise) - it's an opinion. If one fails to notice that kallis' cumulative average rises then i think the judiciousness can be questioned - in fact it took almost 4 years for Kallis to hit a 40 test average - imagine what he's been doing since. Vs Aus - well I explained in my last post...rising!!

  • CricFan24 on January 23, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    @mahjut: I am an absolute Kallis fan. But we must be judicious in our appraisals. Even at "home" in SA ,Kallis averages some 35 vs Aus...I am not for a moment saying that Kallis is not a fantastic cricketer and the best allrounder since Sobers...(at least in terms of being a "batting allrounder"..He is a good though certainly not "Great" bowler)...my point is that to me the modern day batsman rankings are 1)Tendulkar 2)Lara....Ponting,Kallis,Dravid and the Rest....Vague comments from Xolile such as we should pump up Kallis's average up to 62.5 because he played on "green tops" etc are blatantly false because they simply don't take into account numerous variables....Kallis is the modern day allround day Collosus- but the fact is he will always be in the 2nd rung as a pure batsman to Tendulkar/lara.

  • hoodbu on January 23, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    It is really harsh to call Morkel scattergun and erratic. He concedes fewer runs per over than Steyn in Tests, ODIs, and T20s. This is the 3rd time I posting this comment. Hopefully it will be approved for stating the same thing.

  • mahjut on January 23, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    I watched the tests in UAE and, being a zim fan, thought that is where Zim should play our first 10 tests on return to the International Test fold, because I reckon we'd get a draw against any team on those tracks :)) ... fact is, it is testament to the SA attack that there was even vague talk of SA winning either game. A Pakistan win was never, EVER on the cards...

    back to kallis briefly - i had a little look at other modern 'greats' ... they all have an achillies. Kallis' being England and SL. Lara and Ponting also 'fail' in certain places (in India maybe? and elsewhere) and Tendulkar, who fares best of the 4, still falls well below his own high standards in SA and PK. I am not comparing, but if I were, I'd pick Sachin as my top bat ... BUT, Kallis would be first on my world team sheet every time and of the current players, Steyn would be second...

  • on January 22, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    Steyn is the Great White Shark and other fast bowlers of this era are mere porpoises compared to him. He really makes the batsmen HOWEVER TALENTED quake in their boots with his raw pace, guile and accuracy. They have no choice but to play almost every ball he bowls - he gives them plenty with their name written on it. Any batsman who has faced him and scalped by him will wake up with a nightmare in the middle of the night with a racing heart wetting the bed.

  • on January 22, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    Steyn is a fantastic bowler. But please note as good as he is now I does expect that he will be even better in about 2 years when he reaches his peak.

  • mahjut on January 22, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    CricFan24. I am sure you are NOT a Kallis fan - LOL. "some people are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, and some achieve greatness"; Kallis is the last!! I realise for many people the fact that he was not great from the get-go is a black mark but for me it means he has had to perform even better since hitting his stride, to achieve the same as those other modern 'greats'. You mention Oz as a glitch!? take out the first series when he was still a test-pup (as I said, he was a slow starter) and his average in aus is 50. take out his last three as well (partly because it suits me, but also to quell any questions about the quality of his opposition) and his average goes up to 57. that means 57 IN OZ during Kallis's form-time against the GREAT aussies - not bad! England IS a black mark but Kallis' figures EVERYWHERE else (though SL and BD were not great) hold up extremely well. maybe perspective with analysis.... Funny to think this article is about Steyn - he IS GOOOOD!!!

  • BillyCC on January 23, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    ARad, I take your point and a lot of other people will also state that criteria as an important one for judging greatness. It is that reason alone which holds guys like Lillee, Marshall, Garner on a higher standing than McGrath, Walsh, Hadlee etc. Whether it's a right criteria to use is debatable, but that's probably not for this forum. The point is, Steyn has a long way to go to generate the same level of fear and stress that the other guys mentioned above do. The reason is, because when he's not taking wickets, he giving away plenty of runs which releases the fear and stress. The other guys were able to stifle the runs and build the pressure, allowing not only themselves but their partners to get the wickets.

  • CricFan24 on January 23, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    @mahjut.Well, It is not just Kallis. Ponting,Dravid and a whole host of batsmen had their best years in the mid 2000s. In the '90s not too many batsmen did too well.Infact if you consider batsmen who played for the whole of the '90s just 3 average more than 50.And that is just one of numerous variables I am referring to.Kallis is an alltime great, but unfortunately he misses out on the very top rung of batsmen.As with all top sport the margins between the GOAT (or the very,very great) is normally miniscule.(It is perhaps only in cricket where you have a Bradman with a freakish average).. But that doesn't mean that it is not there. A Carl Lewis may win by 2/100ths of a second .But he will win most times. And the fans and others "Know" this...Kallis is Great , but not "That" great a batsman as the South African fans here are attempting to pump him up to be.l

  • ARad on January 23, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    One thing that determines the greatness of a bowler is the excitement he generates when he comes in for a spell. Since Murali's retirement, there is only one bowler in the international arena who generates such excitement for me. Even if he doesn't take wickets, Steyn truly tests the opposing batsmen - Test cricket at its best! Thank you Steyn and keep yourself injury free...

  • mahjut on January 23, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    I have noticed this trend of assuming one can only be judicious in criticism - it can be done in praise to. Kallis's average as a bolwer is very good (I never suggested it was great - but his average is better than a LOT of test bowlers around today). Stating facts is not evidence of being judicious and stating an opinion as a fact is evidence to the contrary...It is not a fact that he will always be second rung to Tendulkar and Lara (I happen to think that he probably is not as good as Tendulkar - but even still, i think I could conjure an arguement...one eg: ST played with 3/4 other VERY talented batsmen and Kallis is only 'enduring' that luxury now .. and is flourishing in every sense - battingwise) - it's an opinion. If one fails to notice that kallis' cumulative average rises then i think the judiciousness can be questioned - in fact it took almost 4 years for Kallis to hit a 40 test average - imagine what he's been doing since. Vs Aus - well I explained in my last post...rising!!

  • CricFan24 on January 23, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    @mahjut: I am an absolute Kallis fan. But we must be judicious in our appraisals. Even at "home" in SA ,Kallis averages some 35 vs Aus...I am not for a moment saying that Kallis is not a fantastic cricketer and the best allrounder since Sobers...(at least in terms of being a "batting allrounder"..He is a good though certainly not "Great" bowler)...my point is that to me the modern day batsman rankings are 1)Tendulkar 2)Lara....Ponting,Kallis,Dravid and the Rest....Vague comments from Xolile such as we should pump up Kallis's average up to 62.5 because he played on "green tops" etc are blatantly false because they simply don't take into account numerous variables....Kallis is the modern day allround day Collosus- but the fact is he will always be in the 2nd rung as a pure batsman to Tendulkar/lara.

  • hoodbu on January 23, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    It is really harsh to call Morkel scattergun and erratic. He concedes fewer runs per over than Steyn in Tests, ODIs, and T20s. This is the 3rd time I posting this comment. Hopefully it will be approved for stating the same thing.

  • mahjut on January 23, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    I watched the tests in UAE and, being a zim fan, thought that is where Zim should play our first 10 tests on return to the International Test fold, because I reckon we'd get a draw against any team on those tracks :)) ... fact is, it is testament to the SA attack that there was even vague talk of SA winning either game. A Pakistan win was never, EVER on the cards...

    back to kallis briefly - i had a little look at other modern 'greats' ... they all have an achillies. Kallis' being England and SL. Lara and Ponting also 'fail' in certain places (in India maybe? and elsewhere) and Tendulkar, who fares best of the 4, still falls well below his own high standards in SA and PK. I am not comparing, but if I were, I'd pick Sachin as my top bat ... BUT, Kallis would be first on my world team sheet every time and of the current players, Steyn would be second...

  • on January 22, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    Steyn is the Great White Shark and other fast bowlers of this era are mere porpoises compared to him. He really makes the batsmen HOWEVER TALENTED quake in their boots with his raw pace, guile and accuracy. They have no choice but to play almost every ball he bowls - he gives them plenty with their name written on it. Any batsman who has faced him and scalped by him will wake up with a nightmare in the middle of the night with a racing heart wetting the bed.

  • on January 22, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    Steyn is a fantastic bowler. But please note as good as he is now I does expect that he will be even better in about 2 years when he reaches his peak.

  • mahjut on January 22, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    CricFan24. I am sure you are NOT a Kallis fan - LOL. "some people are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, and some achieve greatness"; Kallis is the last!! I realise for many people the fact that he was not great from the get-go is a black mark but for me it means he has had to perform even better since hitting his stride, to achieve the same as those other modern 'greats'. You mention Oz as a glitch!? take out the first series when he was still a test-pup (as I said, he was a slow starter) and his average in aus is 50. take out his last three as well (partly because it suits me, but also to quell any questions about the quality of his opposition) and his average goes up to 57. that means 57 IN OZ during Kallis's form-time against the GREAT aussies - not bad! England IS a black mark but Kallis' figures EVERYWHERE else (though SL and BD were not great) hold up extremely well. maybe perspective with analysis.... Funny to think this article is about Steyn - he IS GOOOOD!!!

  • on January 22, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    There's always a yawning gap wrt Meaning for the words MARK and STAIN,which are seemingly same but oceanically different,But make no mistake this STEYN has truly left an indelible MARK with his hostility,scorcing speed off the Air and off the Deck,be it Indian/protean!An african gazelle,needless to point out that it is spectacularly fit!wat a bowler!

  • CricFan24 on January 22, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    As regards Steyn he is definitely the best fast bowler in the world . And at his best he is at least as good as any bowler EVER...If he can maintain these standards for a few years more he will be justifiably recognised as an absolute all time great- if not perhaps the Greatest fast bowler ever.

  • CricFan24 on January 22, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    @XOLILE- I'm sure you are South African. Therefore such a comment even suggesting we should raise Kallis' average from 57.5 to 62.5. Ha, Ha ...what a joke. Kallis averages 46 in Australia and 29 in England.South Africa is "Home" for Kallis..and except for a few matches he has hardly played any real great attacks at home. Even the recent Indian attack can by no stretch of imagination even be termed very good (With the possible exception of Zaheer Khan).....so a little more mature perspective of our heroes is warranted.

  • harryharis on January 22, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I love his action so cool to watch him

  • harryharis on January 22, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Don't forget M.Aamir, U.Gul, M.Morkel and J.Anderson

  • on January 22, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    @ Harshtmm In the india series you are talking about. Remember the nagpur test?

  • Jibzi786 on January 21, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    We probably all agree that Steyn is currently the best bowler in the world but I do feel we are going a bit overboard when we are comparing players of today to players of the past. What Steyn does so well is bowl with great accuracy and gets the ball to go away from and to the batsman's off stump/pads, at considerable pace. He has a very good slower ball and sharp bouncer. Statistics will tell you that he is No.1 but you know, I just feel SA as a whole are so hit and miss sometimes, both in ODIs and tests. I feel they still choke when it really matters and do not possess that so-called KO punch. Steyn for sure has removed top batsman but he couldnt dislodge Graham Onions when it was needed, and perhaps you can argue that a bowler in the past would have done so. I also feel he has benefited from SA's excellent fielding where they hardly drop catches, unlike the poor standard of fielding (i.e. my team Pak) where bowlers have to create more chances for wickets than they need to.

  • THELION402 on January 21, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    I THINK its totally unfair 2 compare dale with akram and waqar...looking @da variety n class ov akram..steyn seems to b no where.waqar was the master ov reverse swing.steyn not dat much to b compared wid waqar... and one most imp thing looking @da batsmen ov current era.xcept 3/4 all others are no where to b compared wid the batsmen ov the era ov lille, marshl,thomsan akram n waqar. no doubt currently he is the finest.bt if m.amir gets him cleared then its going to b really tough 4 steyn 2 stand alone in the categary.

  • gujratwalla on January 21, 2011, 21:33 GMT

    I got to agree Steyn is a rarity these days: a genuine fast bowler.He has done well against all countries but he still has to go some way before he can be classified a great.He's got the talent and the hunger of a classic fast bowler and can only get better but we have to remember that both Pkistan and India played him relatively well and if he can perform on slow and placid wickets he will be well on the way to joining the elite of Lillee,Holding,Marshall etc.A great fast bowler is one who gets wickets on pitches with no help for him.

  • Harshtmm on January 21, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    three things. 1. Most obnoxious absuive guy, not the greatest, not a good example to kids. it is horrible to watch him not pleasure. He abused a gem of a person like Sachin and you guys think he is pleasure to watch??? 2. He is as much a bully on lively tracks as most indian batsmen are on indian tracks. hardly makes him great. 3. He went to dubai recently got smothered and beaten up by Pakistan batsmen and when he came to India last year indian batsmen tamed him and toyed with him, so how did he become equal to the great bowlers such as lillee, Akram and imran?

    Hopefully my comments are published. Harsh

  • KishoreSharma on January 21, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    Dilip,

    You are probably too young to realise this. But Thommo cannot be classified as one of the fast bowling greats. He had 2 great series' at home in Australia on quick pitches and with favorable umpiring. Otherwise, his record is ordinary. Even before his shoulder injury, when he came to England in 1975, he was a disappointment. So please do not classify him alongside Lillee, Maco and Wasim as a fast bowling great.

  • gottalovetheraindance on January 21, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    Kemar Roach is 1 bowler to watch for the future as he has roughed up batsmen like Dilshan , Ponting & Kallis and took six wickets in an innings against Sri Lanka in a washed out match there despite several dropped catches. if he can stay focussed and fit he should develop into a very good pace bowler with help from bowling coach Otis Gibson

  • iDontLikeCricket on January 21, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    A lot of comments make reference to Steyn's poor stats on the Pak tour in the UAE. Definitely his worst tour in a long time (ever?), but don't forget those were the first games he was playing since coming back from injury. There was talk that he should rather be playing domestic cricket. From a SA point of view, maybe he should have. But I think it's a bit unfair to single out someone's worst series, coming back from injury, on difficult pitches, and use that as a comparison to the overall career of another player. Everyone has a bad series. @BillyCC :: you make some good points about those drawn and lost series. I agree with most of them. Also need to remember that Steyn missed the one drawn game against Eng. So need to cut him some slack there. He's definitely the best bowler (fast or spin) playing today. I can't agree with comparisons to Zaheer, Lee, Asif, Anderson, etc. He stands on a tier above at the moment. In 5 years we can talk about where he sits among the greats - too soon

  • gottalovetheraindance on January 21, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    i Agree that Steyn is a very good bowler however he does need to watch his attitude aggresion is not a sin but it has to be controlled cursing & spitting saliva at opponents betrays a sense of excessive pride and gross disregard for the spirit of the gentleman's game . all it takes is one injury or bad descision & thats it prime examples Ian Bishop, Shane Bond, Roy Gilchrist, Colin Croft , Lawrence Rowe , Mohammed Asif , & many others all of whom could be argued to be as good as or even better than Steyn in their various feilds.

  • harshthakor on January 21, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    The most complete fast bowler of the modern era who can superbly adapt himself to the flat,lifeles tracks of today.His strike rate is phenomenal,better than Lillee,Akram or Marshall,that too when receiving such little assistance from batsman friendly wickets.He combines lethal pace with superb control and ability to swing the ball both ways and make it bounce disconcertingly.Imagine Steyn bolwing on the fast wickets of the 1970's!

  • Yasho45 on January 21, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    If a fast bowler runs havoc on seamer friendly pitches and a spinner on spinner friendly pitches they dont become equivalent to greats. What is with you guys, still with 1900's thinking.

  • haroonalvi on January 21, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    Steyn recently played against an under-strength Pakistan side in Asian pitches, and came out with an average of (46.33) in 2 Tests. Against the full strength Indian side, he came out with an average of (17.47) in 3 Tests. What can we say from this ? Is Steyn only good enough on bowling friendly pitches ? Or is it that Indian batting is over-rated ? Whatever is the conclusion, in Pak SA series, Pakistan debutant Tanvir Ahmed averaged (24.83) in the same series against KING KALLIS and co.

  • on January 21, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    Steyn is awesome. Two questions though- some of the tracks in SA were ridiculous - they helped the bowlers big time. Since he plays half his games there you have to keep that in mind. Somebody like Kapil Dev took 200 wickets in India - that is pretty incredible!

    Also how good is his record against lefties? Gambler played him comfortably

  • prashant1 on January 21, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    If Steyn can keep up even 80% of this level for say 110 matches he will be the GOAT. In my opinion he is ALREADY the best modern day fast bowler

  • on January 21, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Folks, This article is a fine and just tribute to best fast bowler in current times. English fleet of quicks looks good - but they need to last 3-4 seasons before one can say.

    He is a joy to watch ... test matches provide a more balance between bat and ball. He is spectacular even on flat pitches - remember 7/51 & 10/110 in Nagpur 2010....with five of these wickets hitting timber... Wish India has half a bowler like him. My friend Fiaz - if picked it from the article - one day is not Steyn's speciality.

    wish we have him around for 6-8 more years atleast.

  • Proteas123 on January 21, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    @ deepgill - You're theory only works if you look at conditions in the short term. A player may be out of his depth the first time he plays in foreign conditions, but over the long term a flat track will be easier to bat on than a green top, this is in fact obvious and you are only using it as an excuse to promote indian batsman. Kallis is superior as indicated by Xollie and easily the best test batsman in the world at the moment. With regards to Steyn, due to all the flat tracks around these days, an argument could be made for Steyn being the best bowler ever. His stats compare with the greats despite him bowling on more flat tracks.

  • zmkud on January 21, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    dears please read the stats he get rid of indian batsman in india like sitting duks gets every so called great sachin sehvag dravid gambhir laxman dhoni and remember single person can win one or two matches singlehandidly but not on consistant basis

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    dale z da deal he owayz make dem shiver

  • diri on January 21, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    strudi74 I agree with what you said. You are 100% correct. And I was just thinking that if dale steyn bowled on the wet green pitches of the 90's he would rip batting line ups to shreds and get 5 wicket hauls every time he bowls…Dale steyn is a legend...in an era dominated by the bat he goes against the norm and takes 5 wicket hauls with amazing consistency. There might be other bowlers who can bowl faster than him but without doubt he is still the most deadly even though he bowls within himself ( he could bowl every ball at 150km if he wanted to ) I think south Africans take him for granted and one day when he retires world cricket will surely feel the loss .....

  • the_complete_batsman on January 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    To the guys who keep saying Steyn needs to prove himself outside SA - he averages 24.3 away from home, and excluding the 2 matches in the UAE, he averages 22.94 outside SA. He's got plenty of cricket left in him - I expect him to improve even more, he is only 27. He is a bowler who needs pace only has an accessory...he has enough skill to do well even if he was medium-fast. He bowls within himself mostly to get more swing - and he can really crank the pace up at will. To the guys who say he isn't as good as Wasim, Waqar or Lillee - Lillee never played in India. Waqar averages 34 against Australia, with no 5-fors (40 in Australia), and 48 against India, (no five-fors again), and 76 in India! Even Akram averages 39 in SA!! This probably shows that the Pakistani pacers relied a lot on rough subcontinent pitches to help them get reverse swing...their records on the hard, bouncy tracks of Australia and SA aren't all that great...

  • r1m2 on January 21, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    I agree. Dale Steyn is the real deal fast bowler after a long long time.

    Those mentioning Shane Bond, umm he'll never be considered great, because he hasn't played enough. His bad luck? Well, those are the cards he was dealt, he made best of it, but doesn't matter.

    I think Mohammad Asif would've had McGrath reborn, who knows if he'll ever play again.

    But among 'fast' bowlers, Dale Steyn is one of the greatest of all times.

  • SnowSnake on January 21, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    @Perera and Hanes: First, let me say that Steyn is a great bowler and also #1. However, we are talking all time great and in my opinion he is not. For all time great, you have to consider his future and past performance as best as you can. All those 5 for numbers are relative. A bowler can take more wickets if other bowlers in the team are not as good. Considering recent history, i.e., last 6 tests, Steyn has not been a match winning bowler. The first test against India was won primarily due to Morkel's performance. Steyn sucked big time on the final day of the last test. Steyn is definitely an asset to SA, but he is at his peak @ around 28. It is all down hill from here. By the time he retires, he will go down as a good fast bowler as Bret Lee, Siddle, M. Johnson etc. would. He will be remembered for sure.

  • Scgboy on January 21, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    Boycott on a recent audio show summed it up the best," The lad's excellent but he has a way to go to matching the exploits and feats of the above mentioned greats in all conditions and situations.Time will tell "

    Not to take anything form this mazing pace man, but Lillee, Thommo, Maco, Wasim, Waqar, holding , marshall, mcgrath are mighty big shoes to try and fill.

  • on January 21, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    I just wanna know if Steyn is the best then where was he when Tendulkar made 200?

  • baceaz on January 21, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    Excellent article however unable to discern how Thompson gets into the same league as Marshall and Wasim. Figures doesn't always portray the ability and menace of those two. I think Holding and Imram had periods where they were equally capable and as menacing. Also Roberts, Akhtar and Garner. I remember when Botham made batsmen very insecure, which would include Hadlee and Lillee. I think the bowler's persona on the batsmen psyche is the determinant and that leaves only Marshall , of course!

  • Meety on January 21, 2011, 0:34 GMT

    @ thianavi - I know MJ has more "off" days then "on" at the moment, but he is easily the equivalent of Steyn on his GOOD days. I just wish his good days were more often. To say he is the most overated bowler on the planet is pretty weak. His overall career stats are pretty good despite under performing for over a year now. How many pace bowlers in the worl today have his stats or better, (apart from Steyn).

  • BillyCC on January 20, 2011, 23:39 GMT

    Deepgill, your logic seems flawed also. In an absolute sense, it is easier to bay on flat pitches than bouncy and seaming conditions. So adjusting an average based on that is very logical. "Being used to it" doesn't come into that equation. What it does come into is when you compare away averages of different batsman. That's when you can make other adjustments. But in an absolute sense, Xolile is right.

  • BillyCC on January 20, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    Dale Steyn is a very good bowler, and will surely end up as one of the greats. However, he is yet to surpass the top tier of bowling greats to play the game. To do that, his economy rate must come down and he needs to learn to take wickets in big moments on flat pitches. Why do I say this? Because South Africa have had many chances in the past two years to become the World No.1. And yet they have drawn a series against England, lost to Australia, drawn two series against India whilst leading and drawn a series against Pakistan. One or two fiery spells from Steyn in a series to win a match is not enough. He has to be consistently fiery to give his side the edge. That is what the top tier of bowling greats were able to do.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on January 20, 2011, 23:15 GMT

    @Rahulbose. Doctored? Really? So how is it the other fast bowlers weren't doing as much with the ball as he was? @montys_muse. What Zaheer Khan did in 2010, Steyn has done for ALMOST HIS ENTIRE CAREER therefore you can't mention him in the same breath. @Ruhil Shane Bond just never played enough cricket to be put in the same category as Steyn, not his fault but still. Steyn is the only player under 30 who one can almost guarantee will be a future great and it is time for every true cricket fan to acknowledge that.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 20, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    Steyn has Sehwag in his backpocket and he strokes him around like a bunny. Although saying that the quality of Test match cricket just isn't what it was 10-20 years ago. Batsmen just don't face quality fast bowling on a regular basis, so when they come across one that is very good they make him look unplayable. Flatter pitches and more aggressive batsmen looking to play their shots has dampened their techniques.

  • on January 20, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    How can one forget Fast, fearsome and frustratingly fragile, SHANE BOND? 18test matches -5 times 5Wickets,1 time 10w,7 Times 4W !! A havoc even on Flat pitches,ONEDAY MATCHES unlike Steyn.

    His athletic action was geared towards inswing and his 150-plus kph efforts meant the ball would swing late. Toe-crushing yorkers were a specialty and he feasted on the world's best batsmen; Ricky Ponting fell to Bond in all of the first six ODIs they played against each other. had he been happy to drop his pace and take things easier, he might have played more cricket.

    Of all the fast bowlers that played Test,I missed him the most !! He was better then Dale Steyn

  • PradeepR on January 20, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    I hope cricinfo stops publishing these pointless articles that compare players who are currently playing to the legends of the past. Wait until the current ones retire at least and see what they do by the end of their careers. I am talking about everyone including Tendulkar. I am really tired of all these articles trying to play to the fans and then create controversies.

    Dileep, do you really think he could be compared to Wasim, Marshall, and all those other legends you've mentioned in your article? Lets see how he does when his pace drops. You could probably compare him to Brett Lee at the moment and that's it.

    I hope you guys publish my comment, but I don't really care anyways.

  • VickGower on January 20, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    "What's Wahab Riaz doing in a team that could once boast of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis?" Is it such a mystery?

  • on January 20, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    No mention of Shane Bond???? I thought he was one of the quickest and most fearsome bowlers of the last decade.

  • absha1 on January 20, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    @Xolile Yes, we should. Fair is fair.

  • montys_muse on January 20, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    Zaheer may not be as quick but he can considered a modern great as well..he averaged 22 with the ball in 2010...and he can get wickets on any kind of a pitch...

  • deepgill on January 20, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    @Xolie..Your logic to reduce average is very flawed. Kallis is born and brought up in South African condition and played all his cricket starting from early days to first class cricket and then International in South Africa. So, he is used to playing on bouncy and seaming conditions since early days of his career. So, he should be good in those conditions like any other quality batsman should be good in their own conditions. Likewise If Sachin would have born in S.Africa, then he would have same avg. in South African conditions as Kallis. There is no doubt that Kallis is one of the greatest batsman and greatest all-rounder in the world. Now, coming on Steyn..He is definitely best pace bowler in the world at the moment and he got all the ingredients to be all-time best. Hopefully, he will keep himself fit and keep doing what he is doing at the moment. He is my favourite bowler at the moment. Regards.

  • Finn92 on January 20, 2011, 21:34 GMT

    A definite great, I'm thankful to have watched his brilliant duel with Sachin. He still has plenty of cricket left in him so up and coming batsmen all over the world will be scared stiff by that prospect! How can some of you say his pace isn't good enough? He regularly clocks in the 90's and his strike rate alone speaks volumes of his immense talent and he's a nice bloke off the field aswell!

  • Rahulbose on January 20, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    Steyn is no doubt the best fast bowler around but this article is purely hyperbole. The pitches in the recent series were tailor made for Steyn, so off course he did well. Domination over Sehwag, how quickly we forget. Steyn was part of the squad that played in Chennai and bowled 32 overs when the whole SA team was kept busy doing ball boy duties as Sehwag scored a triple. He can't bowl a good inswinger and this accounts for his bad record against left handers, so quit comparing him to Marshall will you.

  • golgo_85 on January 20, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    Sorry but Mohammad Asif gets the cake hands down. But not counting him, yes, Steyn is the most threatening among the current playing test bowlers but still not up to the calibre of the greats mentioned. Asif was/is the closest. Steyn only has the rest of the mediocrity to compete with.

  • TransvaalLion on January 20, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Hanes. You beat me to it mate! I was halfway typing the same post. Not sure but looks like the critics can't figure their way around the statsguru to check the facts before they post. Imgaine if Steyn played on some of those damp, uncovered tracks that bowlers benefited from in the 70s and 80s!

  • on January 20, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Something tells me that SnowFlake either hasn't actually been following the cricket s/he's talking about, or s/he's just plain delusional. Overall, Steyn averages 23.21 at a strike rate of 39.9, with 16 5 wicket hauls and 4 10-fers. Outside of SA, Steyn's figures are virtually identical: 24.29, SR of 40.8, and he's taken nearly half his 5-fers (7) and exactly half his 10-fers (2) in foreign conditions. He's by far the best and most versatile fast bowler in the world right now. And for the record, the only two places where he's ever struggled were the UAE (where anyone would've struggled) and Sri Lanka. Steyn's record in India are even better than his career figures (20.23/34.5), and in Pakistan he averages 24.66 with a strike rate of 37. His figures right now are the best of the modern era. The best since before WWI, actually. That, after having taken 238 wickets already. Posts denying his elite status are, quite honestly, a joke.

  • NickRunion on January 20, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    So far Steyn seems peerless but wish to see more bowlers like him to make batamen jump like back from 70s, 80s & 90s.

  • BellCurve on January 20, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    @absha1 - cannot say I disagree with you! We could apply the same logic to Zaheer and Tendulkar.

  • ElPhenomeno on January 20, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    People are going way overboard with Dale Steyn. While a great bowler according to modern standards, perhaps the best, he is nothing compared to Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose, McGrath and the like. Those guys used to play with bastmen for fun no matter what the surface. And I am a south african.

  • strudi74 on January 20, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    I continue to be amazed that there are so many people who refuse to give someone his due, even though he has proved over and over how good he is. Dale Steyn is without a doubt the premier quick in the world today, as his wonderful record shows- he has taken wickets and intimidated batsmen in every country including India, and anyone who says otherwise have not been watching his performances over the last few years. If he had been born in India or Australia he would've been elevated to legend long ago, but like Jacques Kallis he probably has to prove himself for 15 years before he's considered a great. I just hope he keeps doing what he does best, which is rip out the stumps of everyone who keeps underestimating him.

  • on January 20, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    @Absha1:Its not all about average man...lyk if a bowler take a wicket after throwing 150 balls similarly if a batsman makes 50 runs after playing 200 balls..it makes no sense ..i think that is one of reason..KALLIS is not in the race of greatest batsman lyk Sachin,lara,ponting...these guys are attackers not defenders..you can see there strike rates in any format of the game kallis is nowhere...I think ur strike rate is also very important thing...Also dont understand why people all the tym shout test-test..they are really boring...on an average only 2 or 3 sessions are entertaining in a test ...I think real cricket is ODI ..In an ODI everything matters...ur strike-rate,average. sometimes u may need to hit ..sometimes u need to play cautiously.Still i think Kallis is a great batsman,great fighter .

  • on January 20, 2011, 19:05 GMT

    Steyn and Aamir are the only fast bowlers produced since 2004-05 who can be compared to the greats, provided they only get better and better from here. Lets not get carried away though, Akram, Marshall, Waqar, Imran, Donald, Lillee and company were just on a league of their own x) Oh and, looks like Sehwag fans are all talk. He can't seem to even survive the real deal of fast bowlers like Steyn, let alone 'dominate' them x) Just because he does all that jazz on dead flat tracks against mediocre bowlers majorly doesn't mean we should over-rate him and all ya'know x)

  • cram2jam on January 20, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    I wouldn't put Steyn in the same bracket as Glen Mcgrath or Shoib Akhtar or Ambrose until he shines on all surfaces. He is definitely a great bowler on SA's bouncy surfaces. But lets see his worth in the subcontinent. All good fast bowlers have their moments of unplayable brilliance at some point of their career. But we shouldn't jump into conclusions based on one recent series performance and mark him as great. Lets wait and see for another couple of years

  • candyfloss on January 20, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Steyn will always be behind Marshall.There was and will be only one Makko.But in this day and age of placid wickets steyn is certainly a great sight to watch,even if it is against our Indian team .Mitchell Jhonson?? Sure would have been deadly IF he can land the ball on the pitch.Jhonson in my books has earned the sobriquet of being the WICKETLESS WONDER.

  • on January 20, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    SnowSnake doesn't know his stats... Steyn's got 5 fors in Sri Lanka, WI, Pak and 10-fors in Aus, Ind... in England and Bang where he's only played 2 Tests... he has a few 4 fors... and hasn't been to NZ yet; he is the best fast bowler of our time and the most complete since Akram probably... pace, swing, aggression, line-length, reverse... he is leagues ahead of even the greats of the 90s who bowled in better suited pitches than those of the 2000s onwards...

  • dyogesh on January 20, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    Steyn has done enough to be ranked among the best if not the best. He clearly belongs to the class of Donald, Ambrose, Wasim, Waqar, Mcgrath et al. The four most watchable and perhaps the best bowlers in test cricket today are Steyn, Zak, Anderson and Swann. Zak & Anderson skilful as they are now took time to gain their bearings and Anderson needs to prove his worth on sub-continent. The thing about Steyn is that when he is on song, he wipes out the opposition. That is why he has 30 4-fors in 46 matches. Simply ridiculous. SA's golden run in test cricket owes a lot to Steyn barring whom their attack isn't dissimilar to Australia. The rest are good, solid bowlers but nobody threatens to rip out the opposition.

  • on January 20, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    Fair enough, he has to be the best today. The only other guy good enough and arguably even better skill wise is Zak, but as correctly pointed his fitness is not that great. He's had a great career so far and can be one of the greats. There is only one way to get there though, put in these performances day in day out. He's passed the biggest test there is, performances against India not just at home but also away. All the best to him!!

  • mcsdl on January 20, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I would say Steyn is already a firm candidate to be one of the best Test fast bowlers ever. In Test cricket Steyn is a better bowler comparing to his fellow bowlers around the world in this era than most of the other greats were comparing to their fellow bowlers at their era...! Batsmen are getting more aggressive, stronger & infact better thesedays & are not frightned to pace bowlers as they used to do 10,20,30 years ago thanks to odi & T20 cricket revolution. We are in an era where the flat pitches been prepared more often around the world so standard of batting seams to get upper hand over the bowling. When u look at the stats batting averages & strikerates have improved massively. Even after playing in a such an era, this man Dale Steyn has managed to rip apart top order of great batting lineups so consistently better than any other bowler around thesedays. Dale Steyn thanks for being the fast bowler (only one) to look into thesedays as we used to look at the other greats long ago

  • absha1 on January 20, 2011, 17:30 GMT

    @Xolile We are more than happy to adjust Kallis's batting average up. He is one of the greatest batsmen to play the game. Fair is fair. His bowling average though, has to go up considerably too, and the number of wickets per match has to fall away too.

  • docgtb on January 20, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    stiyn is d best right now and can become great.he shld play more of test cricket.i love wathching him hustle batsman with his pace and guile,a rare sight in todays mediocre cricket.the spell he bowled to sachin was the best i have seen in a long time.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    he's the one who bowls at 150 with great accuracy and swing.. we know shaun tait who also bowls at 150 ..he neither has stamina nor swing.. i dunno y steyn drops his pace little bit i hope he'll be the no.1 for ever and ever..

  • SnowSnake on January 20, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Steyn looks good, but I would never consider him great. He does not have the speed and cannot perform well outside SA. He looks great because fast bowling all over the world is pathetic. Steyn will never come close to Marshall, McGrawth, Imran Khan, Waqar, Lillie, Thompson, Pollock. He may come close to Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson or Siddle in terms of performance. I think Steyn's best days are over and his average will only increase from this point onwards.

  • BellCurve on January 20, 2011, 16:26 GMT

    Hmmmm. Sounds like some of the Indian and Pakistani fans are suggesting that Steyn phenomenal strike rate and outstanding bowling average in Test cricket is merely due to the fast, bouncy wickets he plays on regularly in South Africa. Although I understand the argument, I would like to point out to you that you then also will have to adjust Kallis' batting upwards (from 57.5 to 62.5?) in order to compensate him for having to have played most of his cricket on those very same green tops!

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    Well...Steyn sure is a good bowler, but bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, Akthar and Amir are way ahead of him.

  • knowledge_eater on January 20, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    Steyn has the best bowling style, run-up, bowl releasing, jump, grip of ball that's why he can produce at least 2-3 balls per over almost unplayable. Arguably, Batting has improved compare to past (80's) add bat improvement and better batting coaching, still he produces Jaffa deliveries again and again. That tells you something that how would he have been even more terrific back then. Also, Batsman are fearless and have more aggressive approach to go after bowlers, no matter who the bowler is, still Steyn has very phenomenal strike rate and average. He is every captain's dream. He has already made larger shoe than another great bowler Allan Donald who comes closest to bowling style. He is like two fast bowlers in a body. And he has made biggest slap on myth of fast bowling = pace only. I never rate pace if you can't seam or swing. Even 126 swinging delivery can get you wicket. 150 short delivery, simple-> upper cut goes to 6. He is my era's answer to past legends. I am proud of that.

  • cricinme on January 20, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    Steyn is a good bowler in his own way. He has the speed but as far as accuracy and stamina is concerned I will always go for Shaun Pollock and Alan Donald.

  • ss1111 on January 20, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    one bowler who really had the potential to be as good or better than steyn was shane bond. pity he couldn't fulfill his potential, thanks to his fragile body and a stubborn BCCI....

  • thirdmanboundary on January 20, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    I agree: Donald was overbowled, used as a stock bowler by his province and his nation and so was crocked and exhausted too soon. Also, he started later than Steyn. Donald, brilliant at his best, was also more of a rhythm bowler who sometimes lost his rhythm in ways Steyn seldom does. Having Morkel at the other end is a huge plus for Steyn, given their contrasting styles of menace. Morkel just needs to find greater consistency: you never know whether he will be pure terror or all over the map. The comparison between Steyn and Marshall is spot on. Two geniuses who deserve all the more applause because neither enjoyed the advantages of height.

  • sdas9769 on January 20, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    There's no doubt he's damned good, but not a great yet. In UAE against Pak and India on not so green pitches he struggled. He made merry on Nagpur Geen Top and a Motera green top. We should reserve our judgement till he performs on all surfaces like the greats

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Yes! Ofcourse Steyn is super bowler in South Africa's fast and bouncing pitches. Wait and see how he bowls at World Cup.

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    Secc must have been talking about the recent series against Pakistan in Dubai where the inexperienced batting attack of Pakistan had no problems handling him coz of the flatness of the pitch... Though the likes of Wasim cud make the bowl talk even on those pitches :)

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    Steyn is by FAAR the BEST bowler in the world today... He is accurate, he can swing, he can bowl quick... he can scare the heck outta a batsmen... And I am sure he that he'z gonna be up ther along with the greats of the game such as Waqar, Marshall, Wasim though it wud be unjustice if we start comparing him with them already... The likes of Waqar or Wasim or even Imran had the potential to do wonders on flat pitches in the subcontinent while I think he still needs some tym to be able 2 become an expert even on the subcontinent pitches... Though he still is easily the BEST bowler in Cricket today, and I hope he can be up there along with the greats of the game once he quits :)

  • on January 20, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    Steyn is the same, and at one press conference during the India Tests, he spoke of begging Smith to give him "one more". ------------------ That just reminded me of Amir, the guy used 2 beg Salman Butt to give him one more over... such was the hinger he had for cricket... Hope his talent does not go for a waste and returns back with a BANG!!!

  • bestbuddy on January 20, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    @taimourali, Shoaib has 17 wickets compared to steyns 26 in the same number of innings, at a worse average 24 vs 20) and strikerate (48 vs 35). No, Akhtar is not in Steyns league in India. Malinga has 4 wickets @44 in India, having played just 1 test - not good stats, but might be better after a couple more games. Donald took 17 wickets @16.1 in his matches there; Walsh took 43@18.5, hadlee 18@14

  • diri on January 20, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Dale steyn is a legend...in an era dominated by the bat he goes against the norm and takes 5 wicket hauls with amazing consistency. There might be other bowlers who can bowl faster than him but without doubt he is still the most deadly even though he bowls within himself ( he could bowl every ball at 150km if he wanted to ) I think south Africans take him for granted and one day when he retires world cricket will surely feel the loss .....

  • chrisrandom9 on January 20, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    Couple of things: there's some hilariously one-eyed fans on here comparing their country's premier fast bowler with Steyn. Please stop. Secondly Steyn has done it for long enough now to start being considered a great, this isn't just one great season; it's been practically his entire career

  • on January 20, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    yes a great test bowler, but wasnt succesffull in the shorter format of the game, look at his run rate per over.

  • Proteas123 on January 20, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    @ Pratyush Nidhi Sharma - You have obviously not watched Steyn much. He is geniunely quick. Agreed that he does not bowl every delivery at full pace but then his goal is to get wickets and not to break speed records. In tests he regularly bowls in the high 140's and now and then breaks 150, especially with the older ball. He is the best bowler in the world and is better than most of if not all the greats.

  • IndiaGoats on January 20, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    To me, Marshall is Number One always. But Steyn is damn good. One of the few players I will support regardless of which team he is in.

  • D.Nagarajan on January 20, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    World cricket needs at least 8-10 Steyns today, fast bowling stocks are probably at their lowest compared to last 40 years. Those who saw cricket in the late 70's and early 80's are so lucky, it was truly the golden age of genuine fast bowlers (not medium or fast medium!!!). Frankly making runs in those days meant a lot more than today!

  • Tigg on January 20, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    @Abdullah.

    2 wickets in 11 Overs is a pretty potent strike rate (33), considering most test bowlers hover between 55 and 70.

    Also, the point of a variation is that it is a suprise change. I.e. the one that goes straight instead of swinging or the ball that nibbles away instead of in. The fact that Steyn produces such an impressive strike rate suggests the control and timing of his variations is excellent.

  • From-Chennai on January 20, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel has got superb follow through. Compare with Ishant sharma who puts down his head with lot hair falling out and he doesnt even know if the batsman went for it or not! and compare with Sreeshant who sometime even run faster than his throw before ball crosses the batsman! both opening bowlers if SA has got splindid follow through and reaction time (like the one he picked up Vijay!). I think that adds the flavour to their 140+. Steyn is Style.

  • Marktc on January 20, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    Secc-Steyn has bowled successfully on Indian pitches both in Tests and The IPL, so your comments make no sense. His wicket taking taking ability speak for itself.

  • WarVdm on January 20, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    Steyn's in India after 5 tests: 26 wickets at an average of 20. Strike rate of 34. Does anybody else still question his ability to perform there or have you just not watched Test Cricket over the last 4 years?

  • Cool_Jeeves on January 20, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Ambrose comes the closest to Marshall. He flattened some powerful Australian batting line-ups all by himself, and was practically unplayable when in the mood. His battles in the Adelaide and Perth Tests, especially Adelaide, of 1992-93 and Perth, MCG (96-97) against solid batting line-ups are the stuff of legends. The Aussies were certainly scared of him, and had no answers to him. I wonder if one can say that Steyn scares the Aussies, though he is a handful, as he proved in the MCG test (76 and 10 wickets). His good fortune is that he is bowling to some particularly weak batting line-ups. Let us see how he bowls to England, who are in excellent batting form, as good as the Aussies of the 90s. Dennis Lillee was also a one-man terror, frequently blasting out entire line-ups all by himself. Steyn has some way to go.

  • mortenpindstrup on January 20, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    If you are talking about him being relaiant on helpfyl conditions you just dont know him and his record. Now he has toured india twice, and twice he has averaged 20 pr wicket, and in the first of those series he picked up 15 @ 20.20 in a series where Harbhajan Singh picked up 19 wickets and was leading wickettaker. Singh almost picked up 50% of of the SA wickets in that series, so unconductive for spin the wickets were not...

  • mr82 on January 20, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Where is Malinga in the fast bowling players? I bowled some devastating overs for Indians in SL last year. I hope he is one of the best fast bowlers in this young crops...

  • taimourali on January 20, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    i think Dileep you forgot about Shoaib Akhter...What he had done on the subcontinent wickets as well as Australian wickets, i dont think STEYN has ever done that. Let alone the fact that Shoaib is not at the peak of his career right now but when he was one has to accept that one would never have seen a more devastating bowler ever....

  • crickeyt on January 20, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    It is not just the number of ODIs they play that make the likes of Ishant turn into 125k trundlers. It is also due to the pitches. Would Steyn continue be so lethal if he did not play half of his Test matches on the pacy wickets of South Africa? Rather than blame ODIs, the pitches in India need to be improved if fast bowlers have to be encouraged.

  • boooonnie on January 20, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    Steyn vs Tendulker - why was I watching the stupid ashes series when I could've been watching that!

  • shibukunnamthanam on January 20, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    GOOD ARTICLE. Dale Steyn is No 1 Genuine fast Bowler now time..now we can compare with previous legends..I thinking steyn better than Alan Donald..

  • Vishnu27 on January 20, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    Dale Steyn is by far & away the pre-eminent bowler of the current age. He is head & shoulders above anyone else. He can do it all with the ball with mesmerising control, & at extreme pace. He will be a force for years to come, barring injury. Steyn has mastered every set of conditions thrown his way. The only places he hasn't taken a 5fer are Bangladesh & England (& that's only a matter of the next tour in each instance). I only wish Australia had someone remotely comparable!

  • on January 20, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    @jonesy2: ah, cmon mate, mitchell johnson probably could be as effective as steyn in SA, but one thing that will distinguish him from steyn is the fact that steyn _knows_ what he is bowling and he can repeat it whenever he wants and at will. Mitch, on the other hand, as he himself confessed in perth, had absolutely no clue how he got his inswinger going

  • on January 20, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    probably the best test bowler of all times. Has a good record everywhere and his s/r is simply phenomenal. One thing that amazes me is the amount of swing he gets on any pitch. and the magic bowl [pitching leg, hitting off] bowled at 145 kmphs is simply unplayable. He is the only one who give murali's test record a real scare, assuming he carries on for another 8 years. My salutations to a great test bowler

  • on January 20, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    @Secc, what cricket do you watch buddy.. Cause if you actually saw Steyn's best bowling figures are actually in India!!! & dont forget that the Mc Graths etc.. took a very long time to master the art of bowling on subcontinent wickets... Steyn played his 1st game in India & took over 10 wickets in the 1st game of the 2 match series..

  • Quazar on January 20, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    No one like Steyn, indeed! And he's still only 27. I have absolutely no doubt that by the time he retires, he will be universally recognized as one of the all-time great bowlers. He already boasts of a better career SR than Waqar, Donald, McGrath, Lillie, Marshall, etc. (It will get tougher to maintain it at 39.9 as he gets older, but he should still be able to maintain it in the 40 to 50 range)

  • on January 20, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Steyn is a tremendous bowler, considering that unlike the great fast bowlers of the 80s, he has largely bowled on roads. The only modern "fast-bowler" to match his strike-rate is Shane Bond. But sadly due to injury he hasn't fulfilled his promise.

  • iDontLikeCricket on January 20, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    @Secc :: from the article 'Steyn's strike rate in India after five Tests is 34.5'. And from cricinfo stats, Steyn has taken 26 wickets in those five test at an average of 20.23, and as above, a strike rate of 34.5, and two five wicket hauls. He also has his best bowlin figures in India. Those stats are better than his career stats! So I don't think you are justified in saying he would struggle in India. If that is a 'nothing performance' as you said, you have high standards indeed.

  • afridi102 on January 20, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Steyn is just brilliant. I think if can carry on like this for anothe 3 years then he has a case for the greatest fast bowlers of all time. His records agaisnt India in India agaisnt such a great batting line up ( 4 batsmen being all time greats) is just phenomenal.

    Amir is too young, has not played enough to be mentionned in this article for the moment. BUT You can't ignore that Mohammad Asif is also a true legend despite his attitude problems. The matches he has played, he has done as well, if not better than Steyn. His Mc Grathesque aprroach is a just absorbing to watch. His records, especially agaisnt top order batsmen, are the best in the world.

    To finish, I am sure Morne Morkel will also develop in a great bowler in this decade, he has everything for it.

  • thianavi on January 20, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    @jonesy2 - Seriously mate? Mitchell Johnson has got to be one of the most over-rated and over-hyped bowlers on the planet. Ever.

  • on January 20, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    Secc - Steyn took 26 wickets at 20.23 in India in 5 tests. I'd say that's pretty good. Also, jonesey, this article is explaining how there is nobody like Steyn, for all we (and he) knows Johnson could have put it down leg every ball for 30 overs a game...

  • on January 20, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    he doesnt have variations much. in the last tests that 11 overs.. spell only gave him 2 wickets. Only he could bowl an inswinger even less a bowl that swings away and after piching seams not much like wasim but slight like even hoggard he could have gotten some more wickets and hence the match could be won too.

  • on January 20, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    If you saw Sachin's 146 you would realise that it was probably one of his least fluent century's. Sachin was all at sea against Steyn and probably his good fortune saved him that day.

  • bestbuddy on January 20, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    @Secc, did you not read the article?? Steyns average in India is just 20.23, at a strikerate of 34.5, better than his overall record. To put it in perspective, Glenn Mcgrath averaged 21.30 @ a strikerate of 56.9. Wasim Akram average of 27.70 at a strikerate of 62.9. Akram and Mcgrath have more wickets, but have bowled in twice as many innings. I see no comparison here, Steyn is clearly the best fast bowler to have bowled in India since well, since before Malcolm Marshall

  • on January 20, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    The fact remains u cant intimidate batsmen nowadays wid pace like it happnd in 60s or 70s.Batsmen now have helmets & othr protective guards.All batsmen of early days wud tell u how bowlers then bowled 4m 20yards at times widout getting noticed.now umpires call it a no ball even if u r on the line.New rules meke u bowl free hits after no balls.boudaries have bcm shorter.Now u play all 12 months.When will u ppl get this simple thing.Lille, thommo too wud hav dissappeared after a few yrs if they had played today.Times hav changed & so has the game of Cricket.So bowlers hav taken to othr methods to decieve the batsmen.now more tests produce results unlike the 70s where most ended in draws.

  • I.B.Jamin on January 20, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Steyn is the man and has been my favourite modern bowler for a while now, always threatening. A very good article but being a New Zealander I must say I am a little disappointed that there was no mention of Sir Richard Hadlee (who Steyn's action is very similar too).

    Sure Hadlee wasn't quite as fast Dale but like Steyn he bowled well within himself, in the beginning of his career Hadlee was very quick indeed but realised he could swing the ball alot more and be more accurate bowling within himself. Also he was the first bowler to reach 400 wickets.. ending with 431 wickets from 86 Tests and could bat to boot.

    Though this is about Steyn, i just thought Hadlee deserved a mention. I look forward to watching Dale Steyn continue to break records, and go on to probably be one of, if not the best bowler of all time. A top cricketer, and a great in the making..

  • Vatto on January 20, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Steyn is good... Or the best today.... But if u were to tell him as an all time great, then I'm afraid you analysis would not make sense. Cricinfo averages states that he is not good in England, Australia and Srilanka. Its because our indian batsmen have not found him to their liking. But when they do like what Sehwag did in chennai he comes in for a cropper. McGrath, Akram and Ambrose would run thru a side in any conditions.

  • VoltaireC on January 20, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Steyn is the real deal in a true fast bowler sense. After the avalanche beginning mid 70's through 80's and some in 90's we didn't get to watch a true fast bowler in the mould of the greatest 'Macko'. Steyn may have better strike rate but I would still think Macko is comfortably better on the 'menace' front. Anyone that watched 83 Kanpur/Calcutta spells would be hardpressed to find anything similar in terms of fearing-for-life effect.

  • cricinme on January 20, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Steyn is to SA, what Zaheer is to India, Malinga to SL, Johnson to Aus, Anderson to Eng, Fidel to W.I. Simple as that.

  • on January 20, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Steyn is by far the most effective bowler in the world and has been for a couple of years now. All signs indicate he will be for many years to come. However, until such time, I think it is far too soon to compare him to the likes of Wasim and Glenn McGrath who've also stood the test of time and also had some incredibly talented batsmen at their peak [perhaps more so than now collectively] to contend with..

  • c3vzn on January 20, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    Steyn is incredibly smart. He bowls within himself at around 140 kph to get that unplayable movement when he is capable of bowling 150+.

  • on January 20, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Steyn differ from Donald in that when AD was at a similar stage in his career (200+ Test wickets), he was already Cronje's stock bowler too. When he needed a wicket, on comes DOnald. When the runs needed to be controlled, on comes DOnald. It led to him bein overbowled significantly and soon he broke down.

    Steyn has a lot more freedom in that sense than what DOnald had (partially down to Paul Harris' role in the side), and that's why he will probably end up with a lot more wickets than AD did.

  • Secc on January 20, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    I agree he is a good bowler but please dont compare him to any of the greats he would struggle allot on an indian pitch and im sure Sehwag would so same as he does on southafrican friendly pitches....iv seen mcgrath Wasim make batsmen suffer on indian pitches but his performance is nothing on subcontinent wickets

  • St00rt on January 20, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    @Pipsonian - That goes for any bowler today! Whether you're a spinner or a seamer, you need ideal conditions to perform at your best. The difference is that Steyn will bowl the same, even in batsman friendly conditions and on any track, whether it's the slow, low tracks in India (where he has his test career best figures incidentally) or the zippy tracks of Aus or SA.

  • South_Indian on January 20, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Not to underestimate Lasith Malinga! Although we have not seen his true potential in tests (because SL have not had games outside SL for sometime now), he is a DEADLY bowler in ODIs. Raw pace, slinging action, movement off the seam, bouncer, slower bouncer and above all the YORKER - which he bowls at ease almost anytime he wishes with "clinical accuracy", he has more variety than Steyn, but because he is from SL, he has not been celebrated much.

  • barciad on January 20, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    I remember my dad saying that he bowled liked Malcolm Marshall. That seemed praise enough.

  • mak102480 on January 20, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    @jonesy2: i only have this response to your comment: hahahahaha!. Comparing Mitch to Steyn? Really now?

  • amit1807kuwait on January 20, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    The punchline was very good Dileep -"Watch him while you can. There's no one like him". This was as good as the other one of yours on VVS - "There is heaven on earth. I know it. I have seen VVS bat".

  • Keokhan on January 20, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Excellent article, agreed Steyn's record in India is good, wondering whether Marshall got any green tops in India. What I would like to see is the Statistics in unhelpful Condition for both Steyn and Marshall, that would give a really good insight, whether he is a great bowler or a bowler with excellent skill in helpful condition. Don't know what others will say if India lays out square turners and hail Harbhajan as the greatest bowler in the world.

  • on January 20, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Steyn is the one and only true fast bowler we have in the world now. guess the days when we had real bowlers are bygone, but this fella! just gives u a hope that all is not lost if u choose to be a bowler

  • subbudu22 on January 20, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Too much on steyn.. he can come near only allan donald if he performs consistently well.. He can never match lille and other greats. Only if the pitch offers some bounce he can actually strike. Unlike zaheer khan who is good in techniques can strike well even in dead pitches.... lets see in the coming yearsss...

  • HatsforBats on January 20, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Steyn would be the first picked bowler for any world Test side. To have a bowler of such consistent talent will keep SA near the top for as long as he's around. There are always those with the talent (Johnson, Khan, Anderson) but very few who will become greats. For me his greatest asset is his change of pace: to watch him work out a batsmen operating around 135-140kph and then castle him with a 150kph peach with no discernible change in action is simply gold.

  • on January 20, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Yeaaaahh.. Aamer and Steyn GENUINE FAST BOWLERS of this era....We still have Shoaibh, Lee who were superb FAST BOWLERS and who still have pace but not that effective these days, Sami is another genuine quicky, but needs to improve a lot on swinging and obviously to bowl what,when and where...

  • on January 20, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    //That spell in Cape Town - it speaks volumes of Tendulkar's genius that he made 146 against such a magnificent foe - was as good as any you'll see.// That spell was great, but it was more luck than genius that got sachin to 146.

  • Percy_Fender on January 20, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    I would rate Malcolm Marshall Wasim Akram and Dale Steyn as the greatest fast bowlers of all time. I have not seen the likes of Spofforth and Larwood but considering how long the latter two lasted, I think the former three were greater. That is because fast bowling requires among other things the ability of the human body to take it.This is where they score. Wasim Akram recently mentioned that he felt Marshall was the greatest. Having seen all of them, I can say that the three of them were never in a situation where they seem out of ideas to surprise batsmen.To my mind Wasim was the greatest left arm fast bowler of all time and Marshall and Steyn the greatest right arm fast bowlers. Lillee and others were very good too but then the above mentioned three will always remain special.

  • on January 20, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Right you are. only a good bowler can provide real contest and showcase the true worth of a batsman. case for opening a debate for bowler friendly rules in cricket, like lifting the limitation of overs per bowler in limited overs cricket?

  • manpreetkings on January 20, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Great article for the great bowler of this era. No one get him close now a day particular furious 145KMPH out swingers from middle and leg stump. Even the great tendulkar was not fully comfortable against him, more importantly he is that sort of guy who has got his feet to the ground despite of many gud shows. I think test cricket is surviving of few people like him, Sehwag, Zak,Kallis, AB,R Taylor, lee,chris gale and etc....

  • pipsonian on January 20, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    I don't think he matches any of the great fast bowlers as yet. he only matches Allan Donald. He is still the kind of bowler who needs a great deal of support from the conditions in order to get his wickets.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    He is definately best bowler (fast or medium or spin) in the world by far. He has the same attributes as of other legend bowlers. If he stays fit , he can take more than 450 wickets and become SA best bowler of all time. No doubt he is one and only great bowler in cricket today.

    Salute to Styen for his greatness.

  • jonesy2 on January 20, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    steyn is my inpiration. athough you put mitchell johnson in his situation in sth africa against india he would do at least as much damage.

  • Ben1989 on January 20, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Good article, totally agree, I am an Aussie but I ensured that I watched Steyn bowl in every one of these recent test matches, what he does with the ball is just a great feat & I can never get enough of it.

    It is very sad to see that there are very limited good fast bowlers in our game of cricket these days that is being dominated so much by batters unfortunately, like Dileep said above, the only two bowlers at the moment that come close to Steyn is Jimmy Anderson & Zaheer, & I don't even compare these two to being that close to Steyn in skill levels.

    And this my friend really does point out the lack of good fast bowlers we have these days, hopefully things will change, the only explanation can be the lack of decent bowling pitches that are prepared these days & therefore the bowlers can't work on they're seam/swing movement as much as they could in the past although I could be totally wrong & it's just what the future beholds (I hope not...!!!)

  • ram_sachin on January 20, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Awesome article on an equally deserving fast bowler, He redefines the finesse and the quality an ideal bowler should posses. His bowling action is which stands out, so serene yet so devastating. Bowler for the decade no doubt.

  • on January 20, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    Agree, Dileep. He is just as potent as Lillee or Marshall or Waqar & as canny as Akram. I am sure if he performs as well for even 3 more seasons, he would walk into all-time South Africa XI, maybe even ahead of Allan Donald! Statistically, anyways, he IS the best fast bowler right now. And, for the reason you mentioned in last paragraph, he is best fast bowler seen in long time. Hope every country manages to produce a bowler like him, frankly, thats why cricket is still enjoyable!

  • the_complete_batsman on January 20, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Dale Steyn has got to be the bloody best fast bowler of the last 15 years....if he carries on like this, I wouldn't be surprised to see him being regarded as the best there's ever been. The best thing about him is that he relentlessly tries to get wickets, and doesn't bore batsmen out like McGrath. Steyn makes bowling beautiful.....and often comes up with hellish, unearthly deliveries...ask Vaughan, Pujara or Dravid.

  • tikna on January 20, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Its amazing how good this guy really is. Fitness is amazing, talent and skill are all there and he works plenty hard too. Brilliant cricketer, all the more special and rare because he is a fast bowler. Last line of the article does sum it up well.

  • on January 20, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Wow, there's definitely not enough quality fast bowlers around as this is about the 100th article written on Steyn.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 20, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Your article seems to implicitly imply that Steyn is a better bowler than Wasim, Waqar and Ambrose, and I've got to disagree, all three are still better than him. The only one that Steyn comes closest to is Waqar Younis, their records are actually remarkably similar (and they're very similar bowlers), but because Waqar did it for a longer period of time over the whole world of cricket he still gets the nod. You can only compare Steyn to the true greats in 5-6 years time, not yet. It's still too early.

  • UltimateCricExpert on January 20, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Steyn is definately NOT AS FAST as Akthar, Lee, Tait, Bond etc. But is he very ACCURATE than any of the bowlers I mentioned above and he got good control on SWING. What Zaheer is doing at 130 Kmh, Steyn is doing at 145 Kmh and thats why he can trouble ANY batsmen on the planet now.

  • on January 20, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Dale Steyn is undoubtedly the best bowler now and may soon join the greats. However, I disagree when the author talks of his "raw pace" or even how cricinfo lists him as "fast". Most of his deliveries are bowled around 85 mph, Nehra bowls at same speed if not quicker. I disagree with the label "fast" for Steyn while Indian bowlers bowling at similar speeds are listed "fast medium", just look at Ishant or Sreesanth who are "fast medium" while Nehra is "medium fast" (which is very surprising considering he is one of the fastest in India). Steyn hardly touches 90 mph in test matches or goes above it, something that Brett Lee or Shane Bond or Shoaib Akhtar regularly did. His main weapon is control and swing at good pace - clear differentiators for greatness - but it is surely not just speed. Ishant's and Nehra's fastest deliveries were 152 kph and I have never seen Steyn go that fast. It is time he is labeled as "fast medium" just like similar paced Indian bowlers.

  • skjit on January 20, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Dale Steyn has made cricket worth watching again. Even ODI's are worth watching when he bowls. I'm a India supporter but I watched this series just for the beauty of watching Steyn bowl.

  • pvwadekar on January 20, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Very good article .. and makes the perfect point .. Dale Steyn is indeed the gold standard of fast bowling .. and it took Tendulkar all his skills and experience of 20 years to make the hundred .. makes u wonder about abilities of the the modern IPL millionaires and perhaps we will never get a player of Tendulkar or Richards caliber again

  • Match_Referee on January 20, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Steyn is unplayable because he got ALL the THREE essentials of a perfect pace bowler namely FAST, SWING & ACCURACY which was very rare in the entire HISTORY of FAST BOWLING. Imran, Marshall, Waqar are the only few players prior to Steyn who did this.

  • krrish001 on January 20, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    Yes, watching Dale Steyn is an absolute pleasure. He has run through the ALL STAR batting line up of India in India twice and South Africa. Great to watch! Zaheer is also right up there. And these two were the opening bowlers for Royal Challengers in that Brendon McCullum match in the inaugural IPL game! I dont agree that Steyn dominated Sehwag, he himself threw his wicket away in most innings, the second innings in Durban he took Steyn out of the attack only to throw it away to someone else.

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  • krrish001 on January 20, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    Yes, watching Dale Steyn is an absolute pleasure. He has run through the ALL STAR batting line up of India in India twice and South Africa. Great to watch! Zaheer is also right up there. And these two were the opening bowlers for Royal Challengers in that Brendon McCullum match in the inaugural IPL game! I dont agree that Steyn dominated Sehwag, he himself threw his wicket away in most innings, the second innings in Durban he took Steyn out of the attack only to throw it away to someone else.

  • Match_Referee on January 20, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Steyn is unplayable because he got ALL the THREE essentials of a perfect pace bowler namely FAST, SWING & ACCURACY which was very rare in the entire HISTORY of FAST BOWLING. Imran, Marshall, Waqar are the only few players prior to Steyn who did this.

  • pvwadekar on January 20, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Very good article .. and makes the perfect point .. Dale Steyn is indeed the gold standard of fast bowling .. and it took Tendulkar all his skills and experience of 20 years to make the hundred .. makes u wonder about abilities of the the modern IPL millionaires and perhaps we will never get a player of Tendulkar or Richards caliber again

  • skjit on January 20, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Dale Steyn has made cricket worth watching again. Even ODI's are worth watching when he bowls. I'm a India supporter but I watched this series just for the beauty of watching Steyn bowl.

  • on January 20, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Dale Steyn is undoubtedly the best bowler now and may soon join the greats. However, I disagree when the author talks of his "raw pace" or even how cricinfo lists him as "fast". Most of his deliveries are bowled around 85 mph, Nehra bowls at same speed if not quicker. I disagree with the label "fast" for Steyn while Indian bowlers bowling at similar speeds are listed "fast medium", just look at Ishant or Sreesanth who are "fast medium" while Nehra is "medium fast" (which is very surprising considering he is one of the fastest in India). Steyn hardly touches 90 mph in test matches or goes above it, something that Brett Lee or Shane Bond or Shoaib Akhtar regularly did. His main weapon is control and swing at good pace - clear differentiators for greatness - but it is surely not just speed. Ishant's and Nehra's fastest deliveries were 152 kph and I have never seen Steyn go that fast. It is time he is labeled as "fast medium" just like similar paced Indian bowlers.

  • UltimateCricExpert on January 20, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Steyn is definately NOT AS FAST as Akthar, Lee, Tait, Bond etc. But is he very ACCURATE than any of the bowlers I mentioned above and he got good control on SWING. What Zaheer is doing at 130 Kmh, Steyn is doing at 145 Kmh and thats why he can trouble ANY batsmen on the planet now.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 20, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Your article seems to implicitly imply that Steyn is a better bowler than Wasim, Waqar and Ambrose, and I've got to disagree, all three are still better than him. The only one that Steyn comes closest to is Waqar Younis, their records are actually remarkably similar (and they're very similar bowlers), but because Waqar did it for a longer period of time over the whole world of cricket he still gets the nod. You can only compare Steyn to the true greats in 5-6 years time, not yet. It's still too early.

  • on January 20, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Wow, there's definitely not enough quality fast bowlers around as this is about the 100th article written on Steyn.

  • tikna on January 20, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Its amazing how good this guy really is. Fitness is amazing, talent and skill are all there and he works plenty hard too. Brilliant cricketer, all the more special and rare because he is a fast bowler. Last line of the article does sum it up well.

  • the_complete_batsman on January 20, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Dale Steyn has got to be the bloody best fast bowler of the last 15 years....if he carries on like this, I wouldn't be surprised to see him being regarded as the best there's ever been. The best thing about him is that he relentlessly tries to get wickets, and doesn't bore batsmen out like McGrath. Steyn makes bowling beautiful.....and often comes up with hellish, unearthly deliveries...ask Vaughan, Pujara or Dravid.