Steyn issues challenge to South African bowlers

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“I’m always fired up, that’s just how I play”

South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn has issued a challenge to his fellow bowlers, stating that if they are performing better than him, then they can take his place in the national team, but otherwise, they will have to “pull me out of this team”.

Steyn’s comments come ahead of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March 2014 as he wants South Africa to surprise everyone by winning the tournament instead of choking, which is what the cricketing community commonly associates them with doing.

“I want to form part of this puzzle,” he said. “I want to get my piece solidly in there so people can find a way to bowl around me or we can bowl with each other.

“I want to play all the Twenty20s. The T20 World Cup is just around the corner and I want to play that.”

Steyn is now looking forward to the two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, the two Twenty20 Internationals against the same opposition, but only in South Africa, and three Twenty20 Internationals against Australia next year.

“[Shorter formats] are not as hectic on the body and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “You want to play cricket because it’s fun. Test matches are really hard, but I find ODIs and T20s a lot of fun. It just keeps me going.”

Despite being 30 years of age, Steyn revealed that he still felt “young” and enjoyed “opening the bowling”.

“I feel young; I’m 30 but AB [de Villiers] looks older than me,” he said with a wry smile. “I’ll just play for as long as I can. There’s some fantastic players that are coming up. Marchant de Lange is bowling really quickly. He is a guy we can look to in the future. And Wayne Parnell, he got Man of the Match in the first game [against Pakistan].

“Our cupboard of fast bowlers is great and if there’s somebody better than me and they take my place, I’m happy to step aside and let them play. I want this team to do well. But while I’m fit and firing you’re going to have to pull me out of this team.

“I enjoy opening the bowling; it’s always great to set the tone. And the players also enjoy it when it’s buzzing and the ball is flying and things are happening for you as a bowler. But we’ve got guys who can do that.

“Morne Morkel is really quick and Lopsy’s [Lonwabo Tsotsobe] record speaks for himself – he may not be 145kph but at one time he was rated the No.1 bowler in the world. There’s no point in taking the ball away from those guys. Opening the bowling is about setting the tone, I believe. You want guys to come out and make a statement with the ball.”

Steyn added that he had no plans to change his approach to bowling either.

“I’m always fired up, that’s just how I play,” he said. “There’s no point not being fired up – I’m a fast bowler.”

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