We are of course talking about blatantly ruthlessly Dale Steyn. Clocking in with a Strike rate of under 39, this ripped beast from Phalaborwa is fast becoming the monster in every kid’s nightmare.
Dale would have no problem drop-kicking a baby if it came to it. That strike rate of 38 is the best amongst any current cricketer and it’s set to get lower the longer he plays. And if his fitness holds he could be delivering death and destruction across the cricketing world for years to come.
It isn’t just about his lethal pace though. Not nearly something as easy as that. He runs in like he is going to savage you with a spear. He never smiles. And every time I see him bowl, I want to mute the commentary and play Lamb of God’s Ruin. Because the batsmen know he’s here to shatter stumps and pump fists all day long.
Steyn is a superstar in a team full of massive (literally and figuratively) names and egos but he goes about the job with a no nonsense, no questions asked, efficiency of someone from the 3rd Reich. Perhaps his most blessed achievement from a fans point of view is having spared us of watching Kallis open the bowling for South Africa.
Dating back to Neil Adcock in the 50s, South Africa has always had the services of a good pace attack. But with Steyn it seems like the evolutionary jigsaw pieces fell together perfectly. All those before him pale in comparison. He has Donald’s pace, Pollock’s accuracy, Adcock’s bounce and looks like he stepped out of a German war movie.
Steyn however, isn’t just about bullying batsmen into submission. He has the fast bowlers’ equivalent of a surgeon’s hands. His wrist position is what enables him to get that deadly out swing that has been the nemesis of many a right hander. Steyn plays a percentage game and more often than not he wins by a big margin.
There is no back of a good length, try and drive me if you can stuff here , It’s all about keeping the ball up in the right area. And he knows with his pace and swing it’s only a matter of time – While all you see is a haze veins popping out and deranged shouts of the beast that just slayed you. And when he’s done dismantling a top order in the morning he will come back in the afternoon to break your toes with reverse swing.
Randy Blythe may well have been watching Steyn bowl when wrote ‘This is the Art of Ruin’.
His class not bound by Southern Hemisphere pitches either. When Brett Lee and Johnson bowled in Nagpur they only managed 2 wickets in 2 innings between them. Steyn rocked up and took 8 in one and a bit. His closet rival to the ‘best fast bowler in the world’ tag is Mitchell Johnson, and to outline the massive gap between the two, you only need to look at their away averages.
No one should be surprised that SA won their first tour in Australia under Steyns command.
If you want your fast bowlers run in bowl and turn around to walk back to their mark, Steyn isn’t for you. We bay for blood and Dale knows how to deliver. And on days like the one in Nagpur, he has the capacity to scare you in your living room. It’s like watching a re-enforced schemeisser going off -with an endless supply of ammo. You almost feel guilty for enjoying the batsmen squirm. But if you are a sadistic batsmen-hating medium pacer like me, that quickly passes.
And if he starts a MoM speech with ‘Ich bin Berliner’, Give the man an Iron Cross and be done with it.