Steyn and Donald a power pair

2011-06-08 22:23
Dale Steyn
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Johannesburg - Dramatic changes to the coaching structure of the Proteas mean the enticing prospect of White Lightning forming a strategic alliance with the Phalaborwa Express.

And Dale Steyn, still comfortably the top-ranked Test bowler in the world, is "excited" about hooking up with Allan Donald, the other revered, genuine shock bowler for South Africa in the post-isolation era and now bowling coach for the Gary Kirsten regime which officially takes shape on August 1.

At the same time, Steyn has paid tribute to Vincent Barnes, Donald's long-time predecessor in the role who is presently contemplating fresh options in the game.

"It's disappointing, of course, seeing Vinnie go but over the years we've been with the (national) side we've almost become more pertinently 'friends' than just a player-and-coach sort of situation," Steyn told Sport24.

"He's almost been like a father figure and a good mate. I can phone him for anything from, you know, computer troubles to cell-phone troubles to bowling troubles.

"Wherever I am in the world, I know I can still get hold of Vinnie at the drop of a hat and he'll help me. That relationship won't change ... not having him always around is something I'm fairly used to, with playing IPL and so on.

"It’ll be hard to get over not seeing him in South African clothes but when you've got somebody like AD stepping into the shoes it's also exciting."

Asked whether they had ever worked together previously, Steyn said: "No, never. I seem to recall he did a short clinic in Pretoria once, but it was literally an hour and I don't remember much of it at all. But it will be nice to see some fresh (ideas) available to us.

"I used to imitate Allan; pretend to be him in the back garden - all those things youngsters do. When I got a little bit older and actually met him, it was a massive thing for me.

"It makes you realise how good he was when you speak to someone like Binga (Brett Lee) who I idolised ... he in turn idolises AD; he's one of his favourite players."

Steyn is planning to clear his head of cricket, as it were, as he enjoys a richly deserved, longer-than-usual off-season break.

"I'm going on an overseas holiday; I've never been to the States before so I'm going there for a month, then three weeks in the UK - my girlfriend is working in London so instead of sitting in the winter cold of Cape Town I will join her there.

"We'll be staying in Kent so I'd like to get in touch with the county and although I won't play for them I hope I can use their facilities while I'm there, to keep in the groove."

He is determined to hit the ground running when South Africa tackle Australia at home, across all three formats, unusually early in the 2011/12 season.

"There's the Champions League Twenty20 just before that, so that serves as a useful little bit of an international taste going into the Australian series, considering that it will feature some of the best players in the world. It's a nice way to get the season up and running.

"I'll be playing for the Cobras, even though I haven't represented them yet, after being (resident in Cape Town) for some time - all my old Titans colleagues are giving me stick because they say I haven't even got my Cobras clothing sorted yet!

"I do like overs under the belt. I'm not somebody who can just (click) straight away. If you look over the last couple of seasons, every time I've started a series after a break I've been ... well, almost terrible, to be totally honest with you.

"It's the same after an injury. Maybe it's something I can change and get better at. Perhaps it's a mental thing, I don't know."

*Steyn, who turns 28 later this month, presently boasts 238 wickets from 46 Tests at an average of 23.21. Donald bagged 330 scalps in 72 appearances, at an average of 22.25.

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