South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 7, 2013

South Africa might have scared India batsmen, says Steyn


Dale Steyn has carried on from where he left off in Johannesburg. This time, though, with words. After bowling a sensational spell of seam and swing against India in the series opener, Steyn has said some of the Indian batsmen were frightened, and that their bowling needs an injection of pace if they are to bother South Africa. India were thrashed by 141 runs at the Wanderers on Thursday, a spicy pitch awaits them at Kingsmead, and Steyn feels there might already be scars that will go beyond the first ODI.

"I would say so," Steyn said when asked if South Africa's bowlers might have frightened the Indian batsmen enough to last them through the remainder of the tour. "I would definitely say so. I didn't see many of our guys walking off the field with bloody fingers or ice packs on ribs, so it definitely was a wake-up call for the Indians. It's not Mumbai where the ball doesn't get higher than the stumps. It's going to be hard to play here.

"But they are not the No. 1 ODI side in the world for no reason. As MS [Dhoni] said in his pre-match [press conference], they have toured the world and have come to South Africa a couple of times, so maybe give them a week or two, one or two more games and they will start getting used to it before the Test matches. But [it was] definitely an eye-opener for them. Because it didn't look like that when they were bowling to us."

While Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli toughed it out against Steyn and the new balls, Steyn was not quite impressed with what followed in the middle order. "I think our intensity the other night really blew them away," Steyn said after the mandatory disclaimer that he expected the visiting batsmen to come back hard. "I think we also showed them that they have a weakness in the middle order. [Suresh] Raina, [R] Ashwin, Yuvraj [Singh], other batters in the end, they didn't really look like they wanted to get in line. So hopefully we can exploit that a little bit more. But they have batters who can play and score. Shikhar's [Dhawan] another guy who can really bat. So we are prepared for that too. Everyone is a target, to be honest with you."

Steyn's summation of Indian bowling wasn't flattering either. When asked what advice he would give to the Indians, he said, "I am really not going to give them any advice, you know. I think they are doing fine.

"If you really want to look at it though, with the ball they lack someone who can really bowl with pace up there. They need that one guy there bowling so. They have got Ishant [Sharma] sitting on the sides, he is the one guy that can bowl over 140kmph. And we have got really good batters like [Jacques] Kallis, [Hashim] Amla, [Quinton] de Kock, [AB] de Villiers in some good space now. I think you need guys who can spin the ball a mile or can bowl quickly.

"Wanderers didn't offer the turn the other night that Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja could have got, but it did offer something off the deck and pace, and they didn't have that the other night. We did have it so we kind of blew them away with that. Morne [Morkel] bowled really quickly, [Ryan] McLaren bowled with good pace, and in good areas, backed up by Wayne [Parnell], myself and Lonwabo [Tsotsobe]. So if you don't have that then you will be struggling in South Africa."

Conditions underfoot promise much of the same. Steyn said he couldn't tell the pitch from the outfield when he had a look at it from the balcony. However, there might be some respite for India because Kingsmead has lost a bit of its pace over the years. "Conditions are always different here in Durban," Steyn said. "Especially different from Johannesburg. Bit more bounce in Jo'burg. This wicket has seemed to have got a little bit flatter, a bit slower over the years."

Steyn, though, was a little circumspect about what lay overhead - it has been overcast in Durban since the teams arrived on Friday. "Hopefully we can get a game because there is a lot of rain around here in Durban," Steyn said. "We discussed it in the morning. We could go out there for 20 overs each, which is a bare minimum and still constitutes as a one-day international. So if there is a bit of rain around, we have to be prepared to face whatever comes."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SHANAWAZ on December 10, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Indian Team should consider about the middle order batsman. In this situation experience Players like Gambhir or Shewag must be in the team.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    indian team reminds of that kid....who are only good infront of dere parents... :) worldchamps my foot

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    Wow!!! great bowling display form the South Africans..Now what needs to be blamed for this poor performance from the Indian side..Is it the bowling which doesn't really have the bite or the batting which when exposed to a bit of pace is reallly in doldrums or the management which curtailed what would have been the most awaited tour for all Indian Fans and also provides mediocre pitches in India which isn't really of any sort of standard..................... Well anything could be the reason but in the end it is the Indian cricket that suffers...

  • Harish on December 8, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    I'm surprised fellow Indian fans are feigning such distaste over Steyn's comments. Dale Steyn is generally better behaved than almost all of the Indian players barring Dhoni so let's not bs ourselves with the knee jerk thin-skinned rubbish. The best fast bowler in the world saw an opening and threw down the gauntlet. I'm glad Kohli's response to the media was measured. It's now on the #1 ODI team (and world champions twice over, mind you) to reply in a manner that matters: by winning. They probably won't if they play the dead-weights Raina and Yuvraj while Pujara warms the bench. Raina can be used as a 12th man who can field as substitute. And just bring back Karthik already. He can play the moving or rising ball well unlike Dhoni's bunnies who freeze when they face a short ball. In the prevalent wet weather, I say Yadav in place of a spinner. And despite his diffidence, Ishant over Mohit for his pace and height.

  • Binu on December 8, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    @Majid Saleem , Steyn said "But they are *NOT* the No. 1 ODI side in the world for no reason." So when you say that "Steyn is absoutely correct", he is not thinking the same as you are thinking.

  • Vinod on December 8, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Steyn is someone who walk the talk. and the indian middle order as we all know is just for counts. its quite aweful how they can afford to face such a fantastic bowling attack with these out of touch batsmen. i end up thinking the indian board have not considered this series serious! cricket lovers look at it from a different perspective in the sense you wont get a team SA to play with you that often.

  • Daison on December 8, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    If Team India and Indian fans like it or not - Steyne said the truth word to word. Batsmen like Yuvraj and Raina havent got a clue how to tackle the bowling when the pace goes more than 130KMPH with a bit of bounce - wonder why these two travelled all the way to South Africa after Mitchell Johnson has showed Steyne what to bowl at them. Steyne does it better than Johnson for goodness sake. Can give a bit of space for Indian bowlers though. Give them time and a few games they will get to the thick of things.

  • Arulprakash on December 8, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Test result is much more important so team needs to keep Yadav and Zaheer fresh for it

  • Venkat on December 8, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    When Steyn can do all the damage to any team with just his bowling , I do not know why he has to indulge in such mental games . I have always admired Steyn for his abilities but with this remark , I do not hold him in high esteem . He has just acted like any other ordinary run of the mill cricketer . Steyn should have realised by now that the same SA team struggled against the Pakistanis very recently .A couple of good performances from the Indians is enough to turn the table on SA , with their brittle batting .

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Steyn is absoutely correct! They are number 1 for no reason! only playing home series and winning. That's not a World Class Team's Characteristic!! Winning agianst visitors on sub continent(home) pitch is NO CLASS. It is Just to have improved career averages. Last home series INDIA lost was against another Sub Continent team PAKISTAN. That was an even steven match! and Truth came out loud and clear! ICC MUST restrict number of home series and there should be a system where every team plays a series against each other for a justified world ranking!

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