World T20 2014 March 26, 2014

Wine, pizza keep Steyn pumped up

28

Dale Steyn is as light-hearted off the field as he is intense with ball in hand. For a man whose furrowed brow at the top of his mark can make batsmen involuntarily feel for the ball outside off, he is endearingly goofy in person, laughing at himself, deflecting praise and letting his thoughts tumble out. He even uses the word "rad".

Steyn is also the leading bowler among the teams to have entered the World T20 at the Super 10 stage, with six wickets from two games. Asked about his feat on Monday, when he won the match with seven runs needed off the final over against New Zealand - the lowest number defended in T20s and only the third time it had been done- he said: "I didn't think I could win it but we did, so bonus!"

Contrast that with the fire in Steyn's eyes as he collected the final delivery of the match, broke the wicket at the non-striker's end and propelled his wiry frame on a giddy victory dance looking like the world's angriest policeman.

It is perhaps no wonder that such a fidgety, high-energy player does not like being confined to a hotel for long periods. Players are generally not allowed out for security reasons - though on Wednesday he tweeted a video of himself and Paddy Upton skateboarding along a closed road and waving at grinning locals. You can imagine Steyn donning a disguise to sneak past the guards and post pictures of his adventure on Instagram, if he had to.

But while Steyn is an outdoors type whose fitness levels can encompass takeaway pizza or the odd McFlurry, he revealed that some of the players have a slightly more refined way of passing the time in Bangladesh.

"It's been so difficult. We have a wine club, we meet every now and then and have one or two glasses of vino," he said, without divulging who was most likely to become a sommelier as a second career. "We've got a movie club, we have a big team room at the hotel, so we get in there, whether playing poker or watching movies or things like that. We're not really allowed to leave the hotel much. There's a Pizza Hut across the road. I've never eaten so much pizza in my life."

He also chuckled at the suggestion he is now the team's "Special One", after Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, having prevented South Africa from suffering a second group defeat. That title should naturally go to the coach, Russell Domingo, he said.

Still, the importance of that win was not lost on Steyn, speaking ahead of South Africa's third Group 1 match, against Netherlands. He chose to emphasise the contribution of others, in particular his bowling partner Morne Morkel, who conceded 14 off the penultimate over but managed two dots from his last three balls. In T20, those are the margins between getting your aeroplane tickets home and the chance to taste another Shiraz or two before the trip is over.

"The mood in the camp could have been completely different if we'd lost that game," he said, "I think it would have been tickets for us. In this tournament it is kind of tickets if you don't win all your games. It's difficult, the little one percenters. If you go back to the game, Morne went for a lot of runs, which is an odd thing but it happens. People might criticise him but, his last three balls, he bowled three death yorkers and the last one went for four. If he had gone for two and one in those previous balls it would have been down to three or four off the last over and that would have been almost impossible.

"The little one percenters really count in this game. Just those little things, he might have walked away from the game feeling hard done by from not getting what he wanted but he finished off exactly how he was supposed to and ultimately we won the game."

Steyn suggested South Africa are in a "win-everything" situation, although it is still possible for a team to go through on four points. Sri Lanka have set the pace with two wins already and Steyn had some sympathy with the Netherlands, after they were gutted for 39 on Monday evening. "If you're not facing those type of guys all the time it can be quite difficult," he said, referring to the challenge of playing mystery spin or Lasith Malinga's sui generis yorkers. As Netherlands will find out, Steyn is also in a bracket all of his own.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vik56in on March 29, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @ Jagger . Mc Grath was a bowler of the 90s when pitches still had spice for the bowlers and batsmen still played Test matches in the orthodox mode. So Stey's avg of 23.01 has better value than McGrath's 21.64. The reason is because batsmen are scoring more runs in Test matches. Avg is calculated on the basis of each wicket taken for the number of runs. Now do you get it ?

  • Integrity1 on March 28, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    @Jagger's comments:

    1) "The averages speak for themselves": So the benchmark of a great bowler, in your opinion is their average? It's that cut and dry huh? Strike rate doesn't matter then? In cricket, the bowler's main job is taking wickets. Wickets is what wins matches. So Steyn, who has a superior wicket taking ability is bested by McGRath who has a better bowling average? McGrath played 52 more tests than Steyn, yet Steyn has more 10 wicket hauls and is closing in on McGrath's 4W and 5W hauls. But by your benchmark, that doesn't mean anything right?

    2) "That was when decks were prepared for batsmen, not even contests like they are now." How many times "back then" did batsmen cross the 200 run mark in ODI's? Why is it that we are seeing teams such as Bangladesh passing the 300 run mark in ODIs? So T20 and ODI rules don't benefit batsmen nowadays with free hits, field restrictions and powerplays?

  • SoyQuearns on March 28, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    @Poster (March 27, 2014, 6:20 GMT) - sorry mate I can't read your name as work apparently blocks the facebook names.

    Haha - I was wondering if anyone would pick up on my not so subtle jab. I ran out of chars else I'd have been more realistic with DRS.

    What I mean is that it guarantees a higher % of decisions are right. The 'near flawless' part was hyperbole to make my point (that cultural differences are just that, differences, not right or wrong), well picked up on though.

    For those that are frustrated or upset by Australia's sledging, trust in the fact we are equally frustrated and upset (and baffled/confused) by India's rejection of DRS.

    Back to Steyn though - yes, he's simply marvellous. I had a multi on Eng and Saf to win last night and was HORRIFIED to see NED 4/116 off 12.4. Steyn (and Tahir, obviously) pulled it all back though, ice-cold!

  • AA77 on March 27, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    @jagger McGrath's strike rate suggests that he is 20% down on Steyn

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283274.html

    Steyn, Marshall, Younis etc. are true game changers. Even Warne + Murali look quite tepid as they bowled extraordinary numbers of overs to get those averages.

  • MaruthuDelft on March 27, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    @Jagger, To be an entertaining bowler you have to bowl fast too. McGrath doesn't.

  • on March 27, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    Possibly the greatest fast bowler to right handers in the history of the game,he has brought so much to fans world wide...a great guy to boot and always so modest...thats why i thought it ludicrous when a certain South Afirican correspondent,2 years agoon this website suggested that Steyn was jealous of Philander..The man is effusive in his praise of his fellow bowlers,stating that Vern is the most skilled guy with his abilities orpublicly placing Morkel ahead of him in the English home series a few years ago.

  • Jagger on March 27, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    It just goes to show how good Glen McGrath was. The averages speak for themselves. IN Tests: 23.01 to McGrath's 21.64 and ODI's: 25.41 to McGrath's 22.02. That was when decks were prepared for batsmen, not even contests like they are now. Whatever Steyn is, McGrath was better by a distance.

  • on March 27, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    a true champion of d decade

  • on March 27, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    The winnig expression of Steyn was awawsme

  • rajuramki on March 27, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    Steyn is one of the rarest cricketers,who strongly believes that aggression is permitted only during the game . He possesses such great skills that he is way ahead of any fast bowler who has played the game of cricket . He is a true champion without anyone near him . Any day , it is a pleasure watching Steyn with a cricket ball in his hand .

  • vik56in on March 29, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @ Jagger . Mc Grath was a bowler of the 90s when pitches still had spice for the bowlers and batsmen still played Test matches in the orthodox mode. So Stey's avg of 23.01 has better value than McGrath's 21.64. The reason is because batsmen are scoring more runs in Test matches. Avg is calculated on the basis of each wicket taken for the number of runs. Now do you get it ?

  • Integrity1 on March 28, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    @Jagger's comments:

    1) "The averages speak for themselves": So the benchmark of a great bowler, in your opinion is their average? It's that cut and dry huh? Strike rate doesn't matter then? In cricket, the bowler's main job is taking wickets. Wickets is what wins matches. So Steyn, who has a superior wicket taking ability is bested by McGRath who has a better bowling average? McGrath played 52 more tests than Steyn, yet Steyn has more 10 wicket hauls and is closing in on McGrath's 4W and 5W hauls. But by your benchmark, that doesn't mean anything right?

    2) "That was when decks were prepared for batsmen, not even contests like they are now." How many times "back then" did batsmen cross the 200 run mark in ODI's? Why is it that we are seeing teams such as Bangladesh passing the 300 run mark in ODIs? So T20 and ODI rules don't benefit batsmen nowadays with free hits, field restrictions and powerplays?

  • SoyQuearns on March 28, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    @Poster (March 27, 2014, 6:20 GMT) - sorry mate I can't read your name as work apparently blocks the facebook names.

    Haha - I was wondering if anyone would pick up on my not so subtle jab. I ran out of chars else I'd have been more realistic with DRS.

    What I mean is that it guarantees a higher % of decisions are right. The 'near flawless' part was hyperbole to make my point (that cultural differences are just that, differences, not right or wrong), well picked up on though.

    For those that are frustrated or upset by Australia's sledging, trust in the fact we are equally frustrated and upset (and baffled/confused) by India's rejection of DRS.

    Back to Steyn though - yes, he's simply marvellous. I had a multi on Eng and Saf to win last night and was HORRIFIED to see NED 4/116 off 12.4. Steyn (and Tahir, obviously) pulled it all back though, ice-cold!

  • AA77 on March 27, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    @jagger McGrath's strike rate suggests that he is 20% down on Steyn

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283274.html

    Steyn, Marshall, Younis etc. are true game changers. Even Warne + Murali look quite tepid as they bowled extraordinary numbers of overs to get those averages.

  • MaruthuDelft on March 27, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    @Jagger, To be an entertaining bowler you have to bowl fast too. McGrath doesn't.

  • on March 27, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    Possibly the greatest fast bowler to right handers in the history of the game,he has brought so much to fans world wide...a great guy to boot and always so modest...thats why i thought it ludicrous when a certain South Afirican correspondent,2 years agoon this website suggested that Steyn was jealous of Philander..The man is effusive in his praise of his fellow bowlers,stating that Vern is the most skilled guy with his abilities orpublicly placing Morkel ahead of him in the English home series a few years ago.

  • Jagger on March 27, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    It just goes to show how good Glen McGrath was. The averages speak for themselves. IN Tests: 23.01 to McGrath's 21.64 and ODI's: 25.41 to McGrath's 22.02. That was when decks were prepared for batsmen, not even contests like they are now. Whatever Steyn is, McGrath was better by a distance.

  • on March 27, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    a true champion of d decade

  • on March 27, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    The winnig expression of Steyn was awawsme

  • rajuramki on March 27, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    Steyn is one of the rarest cricketers,who strongly believes that aggression is permitted only during the game . He possesses such great skills that he is way ahead of any fast bowler who has played the game of cricket . He is a true champion without anyone near him . Any day , it is a pleasure watching Steyn with a cricket ball in his hand .

  • on March 27, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    Dale stayn is true legend hats of u men more wicket to go best of luck

  • on March 27, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Cricket needs characters like Steyn to thrive.

  • Titan69 on March 27, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Absolute class cricketer and personality. Still a long way to go in his career and he is already a legend.....

  • missionbegins2011 on March 27, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @RyjuDilna: I guess your worry should be SL's progression in the tournament, especially if its SL vs IND in semis (if SL do manage to sneak to semis) .The way IND is playing now, they seem unstoppable...

  • on March 27, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    @SoyQuearns Near flawless? Couldn't help yourself get a jab in, could you? The two Ashes has proved beyond a doubt that DRS is not even close to near flawless! That apart, I do agree that India needs to take on DRS. (In spite of you. ;) )

    @RyjuDilna Yes, cos we all know what happens when SL face India, don't we?

    I had to comment on these jibes before moving on to Steyn, who is a fantastic bowler and a once-in-a-generation bowler. I wish him the world of success and hope he and SA have a fabulous World Cup and put the Chokers-tag to rest, once and for all! (Even at the expense of India, I might add)

  • Click_Click_Cricket on March 27, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Not much is needed to say about Steyn, because the TV commentators already say enough during the games. Steyn-Gun has been the most effective weapon SA Cricket has had in years. He is not just a match-winner but also a crowd-favorite. He not only has GENUINE PACE and SWING, but also has GENUINE SMILE for a bowler of his type. Players like him is what still saves the game of Cricket. Let's keep praying that Steyn can end is career with at least one ICC WORLD CUP.

  • klusenercronje on March 27, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    I would like to see SA bat first...Amla,De villiers,Miller need to gain some confidence before big matches..They haven't clicked yet..It will be interesting to see how Hendricks bowls today.AB as a t20 captain has been losing matches more often,it will be interesting to see

  • Romanticstud on March 27, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Dale Steyn ... a kid off the field ... a friend ... a nice guy ... but ... put on the kit + put ball in hand = killer ... beware of Steyn ... he removes all opposition "STEYNS"

  • on March 27, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    Steyn transcends boundaries. Everyone irrespective of their nationality wants for him to do good. What a champion athlete!!

  • RyjuDilna on March 27, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    One of my all time fav bowler , just love his attitude on the field ,real champion , guess he ll remember the first over which little Sana smashed him all over the park , was a treat to watch , but hate to see that happen to him from any team other than SL ;-) , hoping for a IND vs SA semis and mark ma words styn is gonna blow them away ......

  • SoyQuearns on March 27, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    I simply love Steyn. He has terrorised us Aussies (and the rest of the world) for years and years now, but, even admidst a Steyn Hurricane, I can never be angry at the guy.

    He's intense, fiercely protective of his fellow players and celebrates a wicket taken by his fellow bowlers as much as he celebrates wickets of his own. That's the ultimate indicator for me. He loves cricket and loves his country and his team to do well.

    He had a huge altercation with Clarke during the 3rd test, to which Clarke publicly acknowledged his 'going too far', however Steyn was more than ready to let that moment stay on the field, accepting it as part of the game and shaking Clarke's hand. Beautiful stuff.

    Cricket is played by grown men. This to those who idiotically think sledging is wrong - these are grown men and they are playing for their careers, if it is culturally ingrained to sledge then so be it, just as it is acceptable that it is culturally ingrained for India to reject the near flawless DRS.

  • checkOnCricket on March 27, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Very rare to find such a gem for SA. He is a sole contributor now and been a tremendous bowler/cricketer/entertainer.

    But we want another Bowler like steyn who could give him the support at these crutial juncture.

    Remember the Old SA which used threaten any team on the field.

    Andrew Hudson, Gary Kirsten, Jacques kallies, Hansie Cronje, Jhonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Brian Mcmillan, Dave Richardson, Shaun Pollock, Fanie Devilliers, Allan Donal .

    What a team it was and so devastating...Golden Days of cricket

  • on March 26, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    Steyn is special. Only hope for SA.

  • on March 26, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    Steyn is getting old folks he may have 2 more years of this left in him.....

  • Integrity1 on March 26, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop Yes, it appears that he has beefed up a bit. Aside from the haircut, perhaps its the more athletic looking (and I'm assuming fitted?) uniform that he is wearing that enhances this perception?

  • on March 26, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    Best bowler in world in every format!!

  • gimme-a-greentop on March 26, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    Is it just me or has Steyn beefed up a bit lately? Maybe it's just his haircut, but his face looks chubbier compared to his normal skinny hawk features. Maybe going too hard on the pizza and mcflurry vibe? anyway, not that it matters, still a brilliant athlete...

  • on March 26, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Seems Steyn, like Colin Croft or Michael Holding, is an intelligent and nice guy off the pitch. Like Croft or Holding it won't stop him trying to take your head off on the pitch. I think SA will probably go through in the group now.

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  • on March 26, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Seems Steyn, like Colin Croft or Michael Holding, is an intelligent and nice guy off the pitch. Like Croft or Holding it won't stop him trying to take your head off on the pitch. I think SA will probably go through in the group now.

  • gimme-a-greentop on March 26, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    Is it just me or has Steyn beefed up a bit lately? Maybe it's just his haircut, but his face looks chubbier compared to his normal skinny hawk features. Maybe going too hard on the pizza and mcflurry vibe? anyway, not that it matters, still a brilliant athlete...

  • on March 26, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    Best bowler in world in every format!!

  • Integrity1 on March 26, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop Yes, it appears that he has beefed up a bit. Aside from the haircut, perhaps its the more athletic looking (and I'm assuming fitted?) uniform that he is wearing that enhances this perception?

  • on March 26, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    Steyn is getting old folks he may have 2 more years of this left in him.....

  • on March 26, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    Steyn is special. Only hope for SA.

  • checkOnCricket on March 27, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Very rare to find such a gem for SA. He is a sole contributor now and been a tremendous bowler/cricketer/entertainer.

    But we want another Bowler like steyn who could give him the support at these crutial juncture.

    Remember the Old SA which used threaten any team on the field.

    Andrew Hudson, Gary Kirsten, Jacques kallies, Hansie Cronje, Jhonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Brian Mcmillan, Dave Richardson, Shaun Pollock, Fanie Devilliers, Allan Donal .

    What a team it was and so devastating...Golden Days of cricket

  • SoyQuearns on March 27, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    I simply love Steyn. He has terrorised us Aussies (and the rest of the world) for years and years now, but, even admidst a Steyn Hurricane, I can never be angry at the guy.

    He's intense, fiercely protective of his fellow players and celebrates a wicket taken by his fellow bowlers as much as he celebrates wickets of his own. That's the ultimate indicator for me. He loves cricket and loves his country and his team to do well.

    He had a huge altercation with Clarke during the 3rd test, to which Clarke publicly acknowledged his 'going too far', however Steyn was more than ready to let that moment stay on the field, accepting it as part of the game and shaking Clarke's hand. Beautiful stuff.

    Cricket is played by grown men. This to those who idiotically think sledging is wrong - these are grown men and they are playing for their careers, if it is culturally ingrained to sledge then so be it, just as it is acceptable that it is culturally ingrained for India to reject the near flawless DRS.

  • RyjuDilna on March 27, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    One of my all time fav bowler , just love his attitude on the field ,real champion , guess he ll remember the first over which little Sana smashed him all over the park , was a treat to watch , but hate to see that happen to him from any team other than SL ;-) , hoping for a IND vs SA semis and mark ma words styn is gonna blow them away ......

  • on March 27, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    Steyn transcends boundaries. Everyone irrespective of their nationality wants for him to do good. What a champion athlete!!