South Africa news November 10, 2013

Steyn lays down Twenty20 ambition

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Dale Steyn has laid down a challenge to the rest of South Africa's bowlers ahead of their next major limited-overs assignment at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh: if you're better than me, you can have my place, otherwise you will have to "pull me out of this team."

Steyn wants to play at the tournament next March, even though he has not been a regular in the shortest format and has committed to playing all seven of South Africa's matches before then in the hope of establishing himself.

"I want to form part of this puzzle. I want to get my piece solidly in there so people can find a way to bowl around me or we can bowl with each other," he said. "I want to play all the Twenty20s. The T20 World Cup is just around the corner and I want to play that."

Since his T20 debut in 2007, Steyn has appeared in 29 of the 49 matches South Africa have played, including all four World T20s. While Steyn would appear an automatic choice for 2014, he has not played in South Africa's last seven T20s due to workload management but has expressed his desire for that to change.

He wants to turn out in the T20s against Pakistan in the UAE, the two in the return series at home and three against Australia to ensure he is ready for the big event. "[Shorter formats] are not as hectic on the body and it's a lot of fun. You want to play cricket because it's fun. Test matches are really hard, but I find ODIs and T20s a lot of fun. It just keeps me going," he said.

Steyn spent the early years of his career injury free but has since struggled with a range of niggles including hamstring, groin and side strains. In order to ensure he is ready to take his place in the Test line-up, he has been allowed rest from shorter formats of the game. It is thought he will prioritise Tests going forward but Steyn indicated he does not want to become a one-trick pony just yet.

"I feel young; I'm 30 but AB looks older than me," he joked. "I'll just play for as long as I can. There's some fantastic players that are coming up. Marchant de Lange is bowling really quickly. He is a guy we can look to in the future. And Wayne Parnell, he got Man of the Match in the first game [against Pakistan].

"Our cupboard of fast bowlers is great and if there's somebody better than me and they take my place, I'm happy to step aside and let them play. I want this team to do well. But while I'm fit and firing you're going to have to pull me out of this team."

While Steyn's determination to be part of the XI is brazen, he is far less adamant about where he should fit in. With pace and swing his main weapons, Steyn is always the pundits choice to open the bowling but in the third ODI against Pakistan he was used at first change with the Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe sharing the first duties. He was handed the new ball in the fourth match and bowled four wicket-less overs before being taken off and saved for later.

When AB de Villiers brought him back, Steyn bowled another two overs without success but struck in his third spell and finished Pakistan off in his fourth. De Villiers said he is learning to use Steyn when he wants an impact player and Steyn confirmed he to fit in wherever is required.

"I enjoy opening the bowling; it's always great to set the tone. And the players also enjoy it when it's buzzing and the ball is flying and things are happening for you as a bowler. But we've got guys who can do that," he said, taking the spotlight off himself.

"Morne Morkel is really quick and Lopsy's [Tsotsobe] record speaks for himself - he may not be 145kph but at one time he was rated the No.1 bowler in the world. There's no point in taking the ball away from those guys. Opening the bowling is about setting the tone, I believe. You want guys to come out and make a statement with the ball."

Steyn makes statements whether or not he is bowling. He was seen having words with Mohammad Hafeez, a man he has dismissed eight times in seven Tests and who is regarded as his bunny, during the fourth ODI. He was seen celebrating other bowlers' success as warmly as he did his own. He was seen pumped up at every dismissal, punching the air and roaring in delight.

And although he is now the other side of 30 he has no plans to change his approach. "I'm always fired up, that's just how I play," he said. "There's no point not being fired up - I'm a fast bowler."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • suzonyeazdani on November 11, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    true example Hashim Amla..............

  • dummy4fb on November 11, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    i hve senn to bowl donald,wasim, mcgrath,pollock,waqar .they are good but steyn is the best

  • dummy4fb on November 11, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    He is the closest to Waqar Younus I have seen, may be a bit better. The fact that he is bowling so much in such batting friendly times speaks volume of his class. He is right at the top for me.

  • ramli on November 11, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    SamRoy ... you cooly missed Kapil Dev, the real athlete but preferred to add Zaheer?? Perhaps you did not watch him bowl anywhere. Kapil was holding the record for highest number of test wickets for sometime ... bowling mostly on dust bowls and NOT the so called green tops???

  • Petesta on November 11, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    I think Steyn should open with Lopsy with Morkel as first change. Morkel is not as reliable as Steyn to "set the tone" as Dale mentioned.

  • TengaZool on November 11, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Good honest attitude. Away from the nonsense of preserving his body for the "greatest format", and yes, it is nonsense. Dale obviously loves T20 and wants to be competitive, even in a place like Bangladesh that is not known to be a fast bowler's paradise. The truth is - even though we all enjoy Test Cricket, the test cricketers like most of the audience love to be involved in a T20 tussle as well.

  • android_user on November 11, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    dale steyn is well ahead of McGrath .wasim. waqar. look at his test wicket average . he's taken over 340 wickets in 67 tests .he's taking his wickets faster then any other bowler in less matches. genius. another 30 tests he will have 170 wickets.

  • dummy4fb on November 11, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    How to be No.1 a true example Hashim Amla don't have resort to onfield antics unruly Behaviour Just calm serinity.Cricket is a gentlemans game or has Everybody has forgotten.roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch,cucumbers sandwiches and muffins for tea,Pat on the back we'll played now just a dream from the past. Bring on caged cricket play untill death.

  • mzm149 on November 11, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    It will be a treat to watch how featherbed centurions Kohli, Dhawan, Pujara, Sharma and Dhoni will crumble against Steyn and his comrades on competitive tracks and world class bowling attack.

  • android_user on November 11, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    with inclusion of steyn sa wil be ready fo a fighting in workd t2o

    ROSSOUW, DE KOCK, AB, DUMINY, FAF, MILLER,WIESE, PARNELL, STEYN, MORKEL, TAHIR.