Steyn raring to go after three-month break
Dale Steyn, the South Africa fast bowler, has said he is excited to get back on the field after three months away from any competitive cricket. Steyn, who last played against West Indies during the Champions Trophy in June, said at the time that he was carrying no fewer than five injuries. As a consequence, he was forced to miss South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka in July.
Steyn's first assignment will be the Champions League T20, which starts on September 17. He is to fly out on Tuesday to join the Sunrisers Hyderabad, his IPL franchise. "There's nothing better than a bit of game time," Steyn said in Johannesburg on Sunday. "Playing a Twenty20 game, you're still out in the field on your feet. You're still bowling your overs at high intensity.
"After the Champions Trophy in England, people will remember I didn't play a lot of cricket there. I ended up with about five injuries walking away from that tournament. I had a side strain, groin, glute, neck and a bit of an ankle problem."
Steyn admitted that the first month of rehabilitation involved little more than taking it easy. "The doctors said I had to be off my feet for the next four weeks. I had four weeks where I did absolutely nothing, where I did no running or gyming."
He has since then stepped up his training in anticipation of the Champions League T20, and South Africa's series against Pakistan in the UAE in October. "I've had four weeks where I've been training really hard. I've [got] back to the gym, running and bowling.
"Two sessions a day for an hour and a half in the morning, then get back again in the afternoon. I haven't been going to bed so early since I was in primary school, so it shows that I've been working quite hard."
With the wickets in the UAE expected to offer little in terms of movement and bounce, Steyn chose to take a pragmatic approach. "You always want to play on wickets that are green and moving around. You don't always get those opportunities. That's why we play cricket.
"We get to play in some of the more difficult places in the world. If you just played at home, you could be a fantastic bowler with great skills on easy wickets to bowl on. It's nice to go and test your skills somewhere where those skills are rarely tested. There's not a lot of movement through the air, not a lot off the deck, so that's nice. It can be frustrating at times, but that's why we play these games."
With South Africa No.1 in the Test rankings, Steyn said it will be vital to keep the momentum going. "It would be fantastic if we could go there and win because it would hold us up there in that No.1 spot for a bit longer. It would make it difficult for other teams to knock us off that podium."