Steyn: I’d love fourth SA quickie

2016-09-05 19:00
Dale Steyn (Gallo)

Cape Town – Dale Steyn, back as top-ranked Test bowler in the world, fancies a bit of additional aid in the pace department when the Proteas tackle Australia in a three-Test away series during November.

The fact that they open their account at Perth’s historically fast and bouncy WACA might just see the Phalaborwa Express get his way, while moving onward to Hobart -- where it can be cool and damp -- and then Adelaide for the pink-ball floodlit encounter also suggests a need for a particularly well-stocked seam arsenal.

In an exclusive interview with Sport24 in Johannesburg at the weekend, where the veteran spearhead was serving as a Nissan Brand Ambassador at Kyalami’s SA Festival of Motoring, Steyn said operating within a three-man seam attack (currently himself, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander) was “really difficult”.

In an associated plea, he suggested that the national Test team “cries out for an all-rounder” to strengthen their cause.

The Proteas produced a welcome, clinical performance to thrash New Zealand in the decisive second Test at Centurion a few days ago, but Steyn said conditions made life for the limited SA pace attack easier.

“We got lucky at SuperSport Park; that wicket had a lot to offer. Every time we bowled a spell we were lucky enough to grab a scalp.

“But you could see even when New Zealand played four seamers that it can be hard work if the opposition bats really well … personally, yes, I would love to see another seamer in our attack.

“It’s taxing asking three guys to run in and bowl 145-150km/h all the time, and Vern is not that kind of bowler anyway – so it’s two guys actually having to do that all day. It is difficult.

“I think there’s a big cry for an all-rounder in this country right now. Someone like Chris Morris, or maybe another who is doing really well with ball and bat on the domestic scene. Ryan McLaren … I don’t know where he’s gone?

“We are screaming for players like that. You go to Australia … to expect three seamers to do the job … there are some flatties there.”

Steyn revealed that his long-time national pace colleague Morne Morkel – who would be a strong tip to be injected if SA did opt for a four-pacemen strategy -- was struggling to recapture fullest fitness ahead of the season-proper.

“Old Morras … his back’s giving him a bit of hassle right now. But Morne’s been playing for so long, he’s certainly not going to sit back and say ‘OK, somebody else can have my place, it’s fine’. He’s not like that.

“I think if he’d played on that SuperSport Park track against New Zealand, his name would have been right up there for numbers … balls were rolling, others hitting guys on the chin. That brings him right into play; to face him would have been daunting.

“He’s part of the group who have been to Australia twice before and won the Test series each time. He’d be chomping at the bit to get down there again.”

Steyn will add a different Test venue to his list of 84 appearances across the globe when the Proteas tackle the Aussies at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval for the first time.

“I did play a one-day international against the Aussies there, a few years ago – I think we lost that one, though it was on a great tour for us (2008/09).

“The pitches I’ve seen them play on down there; they’ve been quite green and it does a bit. I don’t know what they will prepare for that time of year, but again, my general view of Australia … it could still turn out flat.

“You have to build pressure for long periods of time; wait for their mistake, because they do attack you.

“I feel our bowling line-up will perhaps be a bit more patient and skilled than theirs. Besides Josh Hazlewood, their attack is very conscious of attacking, wicket-taking. If you can bat well you can kind of get through it.

“Our attack … we are more like wild dogs: we wear you down, wear you down. But we are also very capable of breaking your back, and taking you down quickly. We’ve got the guys to do the job … we just need the right number to do it.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  dale steyn  |  cricket

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