Steyn was making his return to competitive action for Western Province Cricket Club in a Premier League game against St Augustine from a shoulder injury that has kept him on the sidelines since late December.
He will have to wait until later on Saturday afternoon to get into the field, though, as St Augustine won the toss and chose to bowl first at the Vineyard Oval.
But while there wasn’t the big crowd that Steyn is used to, there were a few extra onlookers who had come to watch the Proteas spearhead. A group of Under-15 cricketers from Plumstead High - in full cricket kit and school blazers - arrived just before the match started, after their own game was cancelled earlier in the morning.
“Try to get a koki, I want Dale Steyn to sign my bat!” one of the boys squeaked in excitement. They even got to take a photo with their hero, who is a teammate of a product of the school, JP Duminy. Plumstead High also produced two other Proteas in Paul Adams and Rory Kleinveldt.
“It certainly does bring back memories,” Steyn told Independent Media about being at the ground early for a club match, having last played at this level about 13 years ago while at the Titans.
“Rocking up and hearing the boys joking about the guys who only got home at four o’clock this morning… that kind of stuff doesn’t happen at international level. So it was quite a nice laugh to listen to the guys joking about the guys suffering from a hangover!
“That’s club cricket for you. But not many guys, it’s just a joke! But it’s good to be back, and they do take it pretty seriously. They’re good - I had my first practice with them the other day, and there are some serious cricket players in this side, and in this league as it’s the first division.
“This is the (final) step, from here you go to the Cobras amateur side. So they know what they’re doing.”
Asked if he was one of the guys who got home in the early hours of Saturday morning, Steyn - who is famous for posting pictures on Twitter of his late-night snacks while out on the town, replied: “No, I didn’t. I’m not like that - anymore! It’s just fun on Twitter. I was supposed to go to a dinner last night in Stellenbosch, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling too well, so I couldn’t make it.”
Steyn was adamant that his shoulder was “100 percent… All the talk about the injury can take a sideline - I’ve been fine for the last three weeks, and that’s why I’m playing today”.
He is confident of being ready for the T20 international series against Australia starting in Durban next Friday, and of course for the ICC World T20 tournament in India later next month.
The 32-year-old had the option of playing for the Cape Cobras in Sunday’s One-Day Cup final, but believed that it was better to play club cricket. “I just felt like playing in a final for the Cobras - my first game back from injury after two months - I haven’t played anything and I haven’t helped them get into the final. So it was probably not the right option for me. So playing competitive club cricket was the best option,” Steyn said.
“I have been bowling for the last three weeks already. Injury is fine, I’m done with that now, I’m just back to bowling. I just haven’t had some time on my legs, so today will be the first time I actually get to some time on a cricket field - chasing the ball, maybe taking a catch, having a bat and bowling and playing some competitive cricket.
“I can’t actually wait to get out there. Unfortunately we are batting, so I have to wait a little bit longer.”
Original source: Steyn can’t wait to bowl for his club