Dale Willem Steyn
June 27, 1983, Phalaborwa
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
Scary eyes, throbbing veins and a chainsaw celebration have all made Dale Steyn South Africa's most feared fast bowler. Extreme pace, the ability to swing the ball both ways, and accuracy have perhaps made him the country's best ever. At the peak of his powers, Steyn possessed a lithe and wiry body, a steaming run-up that culminated in a aerodynamic action, and a ripper of an outswinger.
Steyn grew up in Phalaborwa, in the country's northern-most province, and spent his childhood obsessed with skateboarding. It was only when he moved to a bigger city, Pretoria, that he gave cricket a proper go and it did not take long before he was considered a serious prospect. He played just seven first-class matches before he was selected for South Africa and made his debut against England in 2004, in the same match as AB de Villiers.
He did not have an immediate impact and spent the following winter playing for Essex in Division 2 of the county championship, and the 2005-06 season honing his craft in the domestic set-up before he was recalled, a visibly fiercer bowler. Steyn took 16 wickets in his second series, against New Zealand, but it was only when he faced them the next year, in the 2007-08 summer, that he announced himself as one of the fierce fast men.
A visibly fired-up Steyn took ten wickets in the first Test in Johannesburg. Then, shortly after lunch on the first day of the second Test in Centurion, he delivered a short ball to Craig Cumming, who missed. The ball crashed into his face and sent him to intensive care.
The flow of wickets became a gush, and in 2008, he became the fastest South African at the time, and the 15th fastest overall, to reach 100 Test wickets. That September, Steyn was named ICC Test Player of the Year after taking 86 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 18.10.
He was part of the South African side that beat England and Australia for the first time away from home since readmission, and then proved he could do it on the subcontinent. In 2010, Steyn summoned reverse-swing reminiscent of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis and took 7 for 51 as South Africa beat India in Nagpur.
He went on to win the Test championship with the team in England in 2012 and took his 300th Test wicket the following year, against New Zealand. He was only the fourth South African to rack up that many scalps.
After he turned 30, Steyn's injury-free run ended. He suffered a groin strain in the Champions Trophy in June 2013, a side strain later that year and a rib fracture in early 2014, a year in which he had three hamstrings strains but also played a part in South Africa's first Test series win in Sri Lanka in over two decades.
He led South Africa's attack at the 2015 World Cup but also became the face of their failed campaign. He delivered the final over in the semi-final against New Zealand and was hit for six by Grant Elliott off the penultimate ball.
Steyn did not seem to be the same afterwards. In November 2015, he suffered a groin strain during the first Test against India in Mohali and missed the rest of the four-match series. He returned in December to play against England but a shoulder injury cut short that summer. In the 2015-16 season, Steyn missed six of South Africa's eight Tests and all their ODIs. He recovered for the World T20 but only played two of the four matches.
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