Proteas pace ace, Dale Steyn says he has not given up on winning a World Cup medal for South Africa, despite calling time on his career in the game’s longest format.
The country’s all-time leading wicket taker in Test cricket retired from the format in July, but is still available for selection in both One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 International.
Dale Steyn eyes World Cup medal
Having missed out of the 50-over World Cup through injury, he has an opportunity to help the Proteas to elusive silverware with the 2020 ICC World T20 taking place in Australia.
“Obviously, the first prize is always to play for your country,” Steyn said.
“Representing South Africa is the only thing I’ve ever done for my whole career so far, so to get back into that team is my top priority.”
Keeping fit ahead of big season
Steyn was not part of the white-ball leg of the Proteas tour to India, where they drew 1-1 in the three-match T20 International series.
With only red-ball cricket scheduled for the national team for the rest of the year, this means that he will only be up for a call-up early in 2020, ahead of the ODI series against touring England.
He sees the upcoming Big Bash League, where he has signed for the Melbourne Stars, as the perfect way to maintain fitness until then.
“They’re pretty tight on not allowing players to go and play in the Big Bash, but knowing that I’m not available for the Tests, wanting to keep me fit, and also having one eye on the T20 World Cup at the back-end of next year, they probably felt like it was a good call.
“This is great because it keeps me in the running for that World Cup. If I can go over to Australia and get some more experience in those conditions, that could be beneficial.”
Steyn’s long international career has seen him bag nearly 700 wickets across formats, with him regarded as one of the best Test bowlers of all time.
However, the speedster knows that there is one important accolade missing in his collection.
“Winning a World Cup medal for your country would be a big highlight.”
Cricket South Africa (CSA) claims to have built up a list of more than 250 international players that have registered their interest in participating in the second edition of the Mzansi Super League.
Apparently, that list does not even include marquee players, both South African and International, who will be announced for each of the six sides in the near future.
Mzansi Super League an international attraction
The list of 250 international players, T20 specialists, and Kolpak players have signed the agreement to enter the player draft in which the participating teams will bid for their services.
“This is confirmation that MSL is now an established global brand that is taking its place at the head table alongside the other Global T20 events,” said CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe.
“We have drawn interest from around the world with players applying from virtually all the top tier international countries.
“To this can be added our Standard Bank Proteas, past and present, who will add further lustre to our tournament.”
High hopes for the tournament
The giddy Moroe is confident this event will be as successful as the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup that was staged in South Africa back in 2007, which is a fairly big claim considering the struggles the league faced prior to its first season in 2018.
“This will certainly be the biggest T20 event we have hosted since the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup that was staged here in 2007 and became the fore-runner of all the global T20 events that followed,” he said.
“We look forward to adding yet another highlight to our home international season that will be followed by the incoming tours by England and Australia. All our stakeholders can look forward to an exciting 2019/20 summer.”
Retained players list
Each of the six teams in the Mzansi Super League has also retained at least four players from the inaugural season.
The announced the list of players on their retained lists:
- Cape Town Blitz: Asif Ali, Janneman Malan, Anrich Nortje, Dale Steyn
- Durban Heat: Kyle Abbott, Sarel Erwee, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Khaya Zondo
- Jozi Stars: Dan Christian, Reeza Hendricks, Duanne Olivier, Sinethemba Qeshile, Ryan Rickelton, Rassie van der Dussen
- Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Junior Dala, Heino Kuhn, Marco Marais, Chris Morris, Jon-Jon Smuts
- Paarl Rocks: Henry Davids, Cameron Delport, Bjorn Fortuin, Aiden Markram, Mangaliso Mosehle, Tabraiz Shamsi
- Tshwane Spartans: Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla
The Proteas will have to do without Dale Steyn for the rest of the Cricket World Cup, with Highveld Lions left-arm quick Beuran Hendricks called up in his place.
Steyn picked up a shoulder injury during a short stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, which saw him play no part in the team’s preparations for the tournament.
Having failed to recover from the knock in time for the opener against England at The Oval on Thursday, he was expected back against India but, according to Cricket South Africa, has been “ruled out from bowling for the foreseeable future”.
“Steyn has suffered a second shoulder injury which has not responded to treatment and has ruled him out of bowling for the foreseeable future.”
Cricket South Africa
Beuran Hendricks to join Proteas CWC squad
Steyn’s replacement Hendricks has made two ODI appearances for the Proteas, having made his debut against Pakistan in January.
He has 10 T20 Internationals under his belt, boasting 16 wickets in the format with a career best of 4/14 recorded in what was his last appearance for the national team.
The latest developments sees the Proteas squad two bowlers short ahead of Wednesday’s match against India, after Lungi Ngidi pulled out of Sunday’s defeat against Bangladesh with a hamstring strain.
The 23-year-old is expected back in time for the clash against Afghanistan in Cardiff.