Twenty20 cricket may be a batsman’s thriving ground, but Dale Steyn has ensured the focus is on him. The South African is keenly watched from the moment he takes off from his bowling mark.
He may not figure in the Top 10 list of wicket-takers in the Pepsi Indian Premier League so far, but the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer has been most impressive, maintaining the second best economy rate (5.73) after KKR spinner Sunil Narine (5.58). He holds the record of bowling most number of dot balls (176) in IPL-VI.
Steyn, the world’s most feared and sought-after pacer at the moment, spoke to MiD DAY on the sidelines of an event organised by Evolution Sports Nutrition yesterday where he advocated some leeway in rules to favour bowlers.
Leeway for bowlers...
I am always arguing the case for bowlers. You look at Chris Gayle, who is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world. If he opens the batting and bats for 20 overs, he faces close to 70-80 deliveries on an average. So, he can bat for 20 overs, but I can only bowl for four overs. So, my contribution is only for those 24 balls whereas his is a lot more. Gayle is an impact player. So am I. Yet, I am taken out of the game after some time.
I have always felt that at least one bowler should be allowed to bowl six more deliveries than their usual quota of four overs. But that’s cricket and unfortunately that’s the way we have to play.
Cricket has always been a batsman’s game, but somebody has to bowl a ball to start the game. That’s the bowlers’ contribution.
I’m pretty lucky...
Every batsman has done his analysis of who they are facing. We also target certain players and prepare accordingly. I am pretty lucky in a sense that in most cases, teams have gone easy against me. But it doesn’t help as there aren’t many wicket-taking opportunities. There are a lot of games where I don’t get any wickets because the teams just don’t take any risks against me. So, I have to bowl those guys out. Unfortunately, on the wickets that we play on here, it doesn't help much. It is very difficult to bowl them. But it is still nice that I am contributing to the team’s cause.
It has been a great experience. The best thing is that all the players are pretty much the same from the last team (Deccan Chargers). There are some new faces in the team and some fresh energy. We haven’t performed badly. We have almost made it to the playoffs. We hope to win the next two games now and things will go our way with the Net Run Rate. A lot of people didn’t back us, I think we have proved all of them wrong. The teams are scared of us and they are worried of what we are capable of, which is a great achievement.
Not a gym guy...
It is difficult to get into the gym during the IPL. The most important thing for me is get adequate rest and recovery time as you travel a lot. Outside the IPL, I do get into the gym and do a fair amount of running. Cricket is one of the most difficult forms of sport in the world as there is no other sport besides maybe golf which goes on for five days. It is important to understand your body as well.
Born to be quick...
I have always been quick. I have got a healthy action which means it is fluent and very rhythmical. I never had any coaching done to my action. Regarding speed, some are just natural to bowl at express speed. Like AB de Villiers and myself... we are very similar in physique. We do the same exercises and sprinting, but put a bat in his hand and he can hit some huge sixes. Give him the ball and he cannot bowl fast. So, you are either born to bowl fast or not born for it. I think anybody can go from medium pace to fast, but the difficult part is to go from fast to extreme pace. That’s where natural ability comes in.
Important to intimidate...
I try to do both — intimidate and impose myself on the batsman. I am always aiming for that off stump. Anything else that happens is theatrics.
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