South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has said he hasn't forgiven Australia captain Michael Clarke for what he considered to be a personal sledge during the Newlands Test earlier this year. Clarke had publicly apologised to Steyn following the incident, but six months later Steyn feels the issue has not been resolved.
"I haven't really spoken to him [Clarke] much since then to be honest. I don't take many things personally, but what he did say to me I did take personally," Steyn said after his spell of 4 for 34 helped South Africa win the tri-series final against Australia in Harare. "I know he apologised in the media and I should be playing this down.
"But the day he comes and shakes my hand and says, 'I really mean what I said,' and behaves like the way he should, maybe then I will (forgive him). But for right now, he's not here so I'll wait until I get to Australia."
Clarke had left Zimbabwe mid-way through the competition because of a hamstring injury, but before his departure he said that he had dealt with the issue right after play on the final day of the third Test in Cape Town, which Australia won to take the series 2-1. Steyn had been involved in an exchange with James Pattinson when Clarke intervened and the problem escalated.
"I would hope Dale and I have a good enough relationship. I'm pretty sure he would front me if he still had an issue with me," Clarke said during the tri-series. "I think my apology at the time was well taken and respected by Dale."
Before leaving the tri-series, Clarke said he did not believe there had been a falling out between the teams, and that if South Africa had a problem with any of the Australian players, it was up to them to sort it out. His comments came after South Africa's ODI captain AB de Villiers said it would be hard to maintain an off-field relationship if the sledging got personal.
"If they feel like that about certain Australian players that's up to them to sort out," Clarke said. "I think we play so much cricket together these days, especially with the IPL, I think the relationship in my opinion is very good. We see each other consistently through the hotel and from my perspective, unless they're talking about a player that's not in our current group or players who aren't in their current group, from my perspective everyone has been really good.
"If not one player in their team wants to talk to anybody in our team, I don't think it's going to bother anyone. But I think in cricket it's a lot bigger than two teams going their separate ways.
"I think the only issue that I've seen in that South African series was what I said to Dale Steyn during that game and I went and saw him straight after the game. I enjoy having a beer with him so again maybe I've missed something. Maybe there's stuff I don't know about, I'm not really sure.
"But if he [de Villiers] is talking about my incident with Steyn then from my perspective I would hope that Dale and I have a good enough relationship. I'm pretty sure he would front me if he still had an issue with me and I think my apology at the time was well taken and respected from Dale, so he could be talking about other players but I don't really know."
De Villiers chose to brush aside Australia's comments on South Africa, in which they called the side easy to read and predictable. When asked what he thought of those statements, de Villiers said: "I knew them calling us predictable was a little bit of bait and I didn't want to bite too much. I had a good feeling about today and I thought I should keep my words until the end of the game. So I'll leave that on the field. Everything that I wanted to say was said on the field and we'll leave it there - it stays on the field."
Clarke and Steyn are likely to face each other next when South Africa tour Australia for a limited-overs series in November.
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