Cape Town - Can Dale Steyn find 17 wickets in the imminent
Test series against West Indies?
If he manages it, albeit not the easiest of tasks in a
three-match series, the Phalaborwa Express will become only the second South
African to reach 400 Test wickets after Shaun Pollock, and also the 12th bowler
in history to achieve the milestone.
Steyn currently sports 383 scalps at 22.56 after 75 Tests,
and if he gets there in his next four Tests - including the trio against the
Caribbean visitors starting at Centurion on Wednesday - he will be the second
fastest ever to the landmark.
The record is still safe for the time being in the hands of
Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who got to 400 in just his 72nd Test
(and easily heads the overall wickets pile in the premier five-day game with
800 from 133 Tests at an average of 22.72).
But next best is New Zealander Sir Richard Hadlee, who hit
the 400-mark in his 80th Test, so Steyn has a few games in hand to try to
eclipse him to second spot for stealth to the figure.
Pollock, now a popular television pundit, lies eighth on the
overall list for wickets bagged in Tests: 421 from 108 appearances at an
average of 23.11.
Steyn is third highest Proteas wicket-taker of all time, but
now closing in very fast on Makhaya Ntini, who ended his career with 390 at
28.82 from 101 Tests; he needs just eight strikes to go past the Mdingi
Apart from the aforementioned Muralitharan and Pollock, the
other bowlers to have gone beyond 400 wickets are Shane Warne (708), Anil
Kumble (619), Glenn McGrath (563, the most prolific pace/seam bowler thus far),
Courtney Walsh (519), Kapil Dev (434), Hadlee (431), Wasim Akram (414),
Harbhajan Singh (413) and Curtly Ambrose (405).
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