Image courtesy of: The Indian Express
“It will be a great battle between good friends”
First it was the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, but now South African pace demon Dale Steyn has someone else on his radar, and that just so happens to be India opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan.
Steyn noted that he had set his sights on Dhawan since the opening batsman has been in red hot form over the past couple of months.
“Shikhar [Dhawan] is in some good form right now,” Steyn told Wisden India. “It will be nice to have that contest especially now that I know him well. It will be a great battle between good friends as well as strength and strength because he is batting really well at the moment.”
However, Steyn will only be able to get his hands on Dhawan if India’s tour of South Africa actually goes ahead.
The tour is currently in jeopardy as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were not pleased with the original itinerary presented by Cricket South Africa in July.
The BCCI have also scheduled a home series against the West Indies next month and a tour of New Zealand in January.
However, despite their frosty relationship, Steyn is hoping that the two boards can work out their differences and agree to go ahead with the series.
“It would be quite nice if India come to South Africa,” he said. “There has always been a great rivalry between the two sides.”
Steyn has also been steadily working towards his comeback after sustaining numerous injuries during the Champions Trophy in England in June.
His next assignment will be South Africa’s tour of the United Arab Emirates, where they will face Pakistan in two Test matches, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.
“I don’t think you want to jump straight into the shark tank with the longer version, it’s quite difficult, so this is about getting perfect,” he said. “You get a couple of hours of competitive cricket and you can stand in the field for 20 overs. It’s not exactly the ideal preparation for Test match cricket but I think it’s a good start for me.
“I am just taking it easy. There is no point in going full tilt from the first ball; you have to build it up. I feel like every game that I have played so far on the tournament, I have gotten better.”