Dale Steyn recently achieved a milestone of being the second South African bowler to claim 400 test wickets. The South African is the first person to claim 400 victims in lesser deliveries which was just icing on the cake. He is also the second quickest to take 400 wickets in terms of matches played after the Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralidharan. He spoke on what this big achievement means, which wicket he prized most and if given a chance would he coach India, in an interview to Times of India.
How does getting past 400 wickets help you out? Does it impose more pressure on you?
It feels great. There’s pressure in Test cricket, whether I have one wicket or 400. I love it.
Were you eyeing the 400-wicket mark?
No. I just took one game at a time. I have never counted the number of wickets I have got. I’m just happy to play and give my best every time.
Which is the one wicket’ve had always prized?
It has to be the big name players, match winners and captains of course. In India, Sachin’s wicket was really precious.
Was it easy or hard to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar?
Yes, he was tough to get out. He didn’t destroy you the way Chris Gayle or Ab de Villiers can. Speaking about Test cricket obviously, he was a great player.
Is swing bowling an art on the decline?
I hope not. It’s one of the reasons I have got lots of wickets.
Do you agree that stamina is more important to a fast bowler than anything else to generate speed?
You are either born a fast bowler or not. Stamina keeps you going all day, but it isn’t the answer to bowling fast.
Are fast bowlers more protected now?
I think protected is the wrong word. Managed is better. Fast bowlers are key to winning Test matches. The wickets we play on are generally flat and you do need pace to get you 20 wickets. Managing fast bowlers’ workload is the key for teams.
What is the reason according to you that India has not been able to produce a genuine quick fast bowler and how can we do it?
I am not sure. There are certainly enough players around.
You are extremely fit. That’s another persisting problem in the world, especially with Indian seamers. Why are so many fast bowlers getting injured these days?
I don’t know the reason. Fast bowling is hard work and all of us have niggles and issues. Don’t know why some get more injured than others. I’ve been managed well over the years, I’m also lucky with my action that it doesn’t stress my body too much. I’m pretty fortunate.
The ICC claims that the new rules to ODI cricket will “even out the contest between bat and ball”. Are you convinced with that?
No. But it’s a batsman’s game after all. Let’s see how it pans out.
Is it dangerous to expose young fast bowlers to too much T20?
No. You need skill to play T20. It is a huge learning curve for them. The earlier the better, just hope the art and love/drive for Test cricket doesn’t decline.
Given an opportunity, will you like to coach the Indian team in the future?
Sure, I would give it a go. I need to first find out if coaching would be something that I enjoy, but I’m always up for a challenge.