Johannesburg - Having been away from competitive cricket for close to three months, Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn is fit and ready for a long summer of cricket.
The number one ranked Test bowler in the ICC rankings admitted he left the Champions Trophy in England in June with no fewer than five different injuries, but time away from the game has restored his body to full fitness.
“After the Champions Trophy in England, people will remember I didn't play a lot of cricket there,” Steyn said on Sunday in Johannesburg.
“I ended up with about five injuries walking away from that tournament. I didn't play a lot of cricket in the tournament either.
“I had a side strain, groin, glute and neck and a bit of an ankle problem.”
The leader of the Proteas pace attack said being a fast bowler always meant managing a few niggles, but it had got to the point where he just needed total rest to prevent serious damage.
“The doctors said I had to be off my feet for the next four weeks. I had four weeks where I did absolutely nothing where I did no running or gyming.”
Steyn, 30, said in the last month he had returned to training to get in shape for the upcoming Test series starting on October 14 where the Proteas will take on Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
“I've had four weeks where I've been training really hard.
“I've [got] back to gym, running and bowling. Two sessions a day for an hour and a half in the morning, then back again in the afternoon.
“I haven't been going to bed so early since I was in primary school, so it shows that I've been working quite hard.”
Looking ahead to the Pakistan series where the wickets were expected to be low and slow, Steyn said he welcomed the challenge.
“You always want to play on wickets that are green and moving around.
“You don't always get those opportunities, that's why we play cricket.
“We get to play in some of the more difficult places in the world. If you just played at home, you could be a fantastic bowler with great skills on easy wickets to bowl on.
“It's nice to go and test your skills somewhere where those skills are rarely tested. There's not a lot of movement through the air, not a lot off the deck so that's nice. It can be frustrating at times, but that's why we play these games.”
While the schedule of two Tests, five One Day Internationals and two T20s meant a busy schedule for the Proteas in the away series, the focus for now would be on maintaining their status as the top team in the Test rankings.
“It would be fantastic if we could go there and win because it would hold us up there in that number one spot for a bit longer.
“It would make it difficult for other teams to knock us off that podium.
“But it will be just great to get back playing with the boys I've been playing with for the last 10 years.”
Steyn will leave on Tuesday for India where he will join up with his Sunrisers Hyderabad squad for the Champions league Twenty20, and it will give the player valuable time on the field.
“There's nothing better than game time, playing a 20/20 game you're still out in the field on your feet.
“You're still bowling your overs at high intensity. There's nothing better than getting a bit of game time.”