Auckland - The Proteas’ premier fast bowler, Dale Steyn, says he is gradually finding his form ahead of their Cricket World Cup Group B match against Pakistan at Eden Park on Saturday.
The No 3 ranked One-Day International (ODI) bowler feels he is due to have a “good game” ahead of the knock-out matches, and is comfortable in taking a back seat while the team continues its winning ways. Steyn has had a slow start from a wicket-taking point of view, but says he still enjoys leading from the front by running in with intensity and aggression.
“I don’t think I have bowled too badly,” Steyn said of his current World Cup form. “I go through it game-by-game and I thought against Zimbabwe I wanted to bowl quite quick and ran in to bowl them over, I don’t think it was quite the right strategy on that wicket. It was a bit slow and their bowlers proved to be quite a handful by getting the ball in the right areas with the good use of the slower ball.
“After that I think I got better and better against India and Ireland, it has gradually gotten better,” he admitted. “I haven’t taken the wickets that I want to take, in a World Cup you don’t have anywhere to hide, you are criticised in every game that you play and if I was playing a series back home I would have been quite happy with the way things are going. There are only 10 wickets to take and if Imran (Tahir) takes five and Abbo (Kyle Abbott) takes four there are not many left for the other bowlers to take. You have to do what you have to do in order for your team to win and I’m happy with that.”
Steyn was full of praise for fellow swing bowler, Abbott, who has grabbed his opportunity with two impressive showings with the ball. He believes the Proteas’ strength on the bench is a key attribute to the team’s success, and backed every player coming in to make an impact. JP Duminy and Vernon Philander passed their respective fitness tests, and are both available for selection.
“We have some nice selection problems in our plans,” he said. “We have guys that have scored hundreds that are sitting on the sidelines and we have one of the best skilful fast bowlers like Vernon working his way back from injury. Someone who replaces him like Kyle comes out and takes wickets as part of a team that has scored two four-hundred scores.
“It’s a nice problem to have, Kyle has stepped up, he has always been one of those players who has always been unlucky because he is sitting behind Morne (Morkel), Vernon (Philander) and myself, always struggling to make his way into the side.”
Proteas’ Cricket World Cup itinerary
March 7 - Pakistan v South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland (03:00 SA time)
March 12 - South Africa v United Arab Emirates, Westpac Stadium, Wellington (03:00 SA time)