2004, Cricket was at its best, dominated by fast bowlers around the world. There was someone who was not having much first class experience but doing good in the county seasons.
Some good performances in the series he has received the call from the team to play against England in the coming three match test series.
Former South African Pacer once quoted, "I want you to go to bed at night and know when you are playing South Africa Next day, you have to face me."
17th December 2004, Making his test debut “Dale Steyn” against England in the first Test match. South Africa after batting first posted some good on the board 337 in the first innings.
It was the match in which “AB de Villiers” made his debut too along with Dale Steyn. The host came in to bat with their regular openers and put on a 152 stand partnership for the 1st wicket.
Tourists were looking for the breakthrough then came in the magic of young Dale Steyn “Who ripped off the stumps of Marcus Trescothick with the perfect fast In Swing delivery” to have his first Test wicket although he got two wickets in first innings.
But the final part of the story comes in the second Innings, hosts were chasing the target of 142 in the second Innings with 50/2 once again “Dale Steyn stunned the cricketing fraternity across the globe with the Unplayable delivery to Michael Vaughan” and ripped off his stumps but the way ball was pitched on the middle and leg while knocked him out was awe-inspiring.
Although, he was dropped after this series for not performing up to with the expectations of the team and went back to play county season.
Flavour of white lighting and whispering death:
The kind of attributes like these were possible in the 1970s or 1980s when the bowlers like Andy Roberts, Michael Holding or Dennis Lillie were used to bowl at sheer pace. In the 21st century, it was hard to believe these attributes in one single bowler before the debut of Dale Steyn.
Yes, right if there was any bowler of the 21st century with the attributes of White lighting and whispering death it would be none other than “Dale Steyn “.
Dale Steyn played in the times when cricket was more of a batsman dominated game with those trunk sized and smaller boundary lines along with smaller stadiums while the legends like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Wasim Akhram, Allan Donald and Michael Holding.
The point is to put these in amidst is to just imagine what kind of impact he had if he played along with those greats of the game. What is the criteria of the audience to define the greatness of any player?
A number of matches he has won for his country or number of wickets he has taken up. Although, both the attributes are very mandatory, When there is Dale Steyn attributes like these do not fit in his arsenal.
I am being honest and very clear about this aspect of the game “Greatness”. The kind of impact a player had On the game Or on some specific aspect on game defines the greatness of a player. As far as I know, there is no better player than Dale Steyn in the 21st century who has the art of fast swing bowling like him with being so consistent at the top for so long.
Dale Steyn is very different from others in the league. One of the rare bowlers of the 21st century, with a swing at a sheer pace like 150 km/h. There are or even in the past who have had bowl 150 or even above but have you seen someone bowling all the day at the consistent pace like “Dale Steyn” did, believe me, it is a very rare sight for audience to witness something like that and you will going to see this again.
Dale Steyn never liked batting to dominate the field when he was around and the way he bamboozled the great batsman with his spot on Yorkers, In swingers or Out swingers was awe-inspiring for anyone in the world.
Cricket has been changed so much in the past two decades. If there is a format that tests the patience and level of player he has it would definitely be test cricket and that’s where this Speedstar stands above the rest with this feat a record of 263 weeks at the top test cricket between 2006 to 2014.
Dale Steyn was at the top for 263 weeks from 2008 to 2014 as number one ranking Test bowler in ICC Rankings – After the 1950s this record is still unbeaten and the most by any bowler at the top for so long time.
Let us come to stats and figures of this Genius why he is the greatest among anyone in the league all time?
Debates always hit the floor and there are shouts over the greatest fast bowlers of all time in the league. Obvious ovations are for Wasim Akhram, Dennis Lillie, Glenn McGrath or Curtly Ambrose.
But when it comes strike rate this Genius shine different among others in the league. In 142 years cricket history no one has a better strike rate than him of 42.1 and with an unbelievable average of 22.81 with 439 wickets in 93 tests in his arsenal.
If you ever doubt that he was the great bowler outside the Asian pitches, then I think with these stats you will realize how genius he was even on the Asian flat tracks.
Mostly, Asian pitches are good spinner than over fast bowler. But this Genius Dale Steyn was in the league of his own and completely dominant everyone with the next best strike rate to “Waqar Yonis” with a strike rate of 39.7.
Wickets on the Asian pitches by Non-Asian pacers -
Dale Steyn – 92 – 20 Tests
Courtney Walsh – 77 – 17 tests
Glenn McGrath – 72 – 19 tests
Malcolm Marshall – 71 – 19 tests
Sir Richard Hadlee – 68 – 13 tests
In conclusion, I am very clear about my choice and words that he is probably the greatest bowler with many records in his arsenal over others. More importantly, he did all these in the era of batsman-friendly pitches with modern bats and smaller boundary lines. There is no doubt he is the first in the list of greatest bowlers of all time.
..It is human nature to underrate the present and grossly overrate the past, but if you outlaw that trait, time has come to place Steyn among the greatest fast bowlers of the game. ~ by Harsha Bhogle