Steyn wants some World Cup ‘luck’

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It probably didn’t help that Elliott, in a fine piece of sportsmanship, decided to go over to a crestfallen Steyn and offer his sympathies. Steyn took Elliott’s outstretched glove, but didn’t want to be helped up. Who could blame him? He just wanted to be left alone…

But that was March 2015, and it’s now a year later. And guess what? There’s another World Cup to be played, this time the ICC World T20 in India.

And the defeated man from Auckland, the champion bowler Steyn, is back for more. The 32-year-old has timed his return from a shoulder injury perfectly, after being two months out of the game, and bowled 10 overs in a club game at the Vineyard Oval in Claremont at the weekend.

The opposition batsmen couldn’t survive against the swing and pace of Proteas spearhead Steyn, who claimed 3/2 in five overs in the first innings and 2/11 in the same amount of overs in the second.

But more importantly, the shoulder problem was gone, and now he can focus on the real thing this Friday at Kingsmead in Durban (6pm start) when South Africa take on Australia in the first of three T20 internationals.

The bigger picture, though, is the World T20, and the “Phalaborwa Express” is adamant that the premier event in the shortened format is as important as the 50-over tournament, and he is hell-bent on going all the way in India.

Asked how he felt about another impending World Cup, Steyn told Independent Media: “Ja, I am (determined to win it). It’s not just another World Cup, it’s the World Cup. Every time I look at a World Cup, it’s a great honour and privilege to go to a World Cup. So, it’s not another one. That’s how we focus on it, and if we don’t get over the line, then we will deal with it accordingly.

“But every World Cup we go to is a very serious matter – it’s not just one of those ‘It’s just another day’ kind of thing that happens. These are a major privilege and they only come around every four years or two years, so you have to wait a very long time. You have to be very lucky to make the side.”

As with any ICC event, South Africans would be reluctant to label the Proteas as favourites, or even contenders considering the team’s chequered past in such competitions.

But their T20 record since the 50-over World Cup cannot be ignored. They beat Bangladesh 2-0 in Dhaka in July, drew 1-1 with New Zealand in South Africa in August, triumphed 2-0 over India on the sub-continent in October and got past England by the same margin in February.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo and the selection panel seem to have the mix just right with the T20 line-up, especially by employing two all-rounders in David Wiese and Chris Morris. They will still have to mull over the batting order, with Hashim Amla making a strong case to be retained even when Quinton de Kock returns from a minor knee injury.

And they knocked over the English without Steyn, so he will provide considerable firepower to the Proteas attack against Australia. That excites national selection convenor Linda Zondi.

“We are all happy to see Dale come back into his routine. It’s important for us to see Dale fully fit and bowling at full pace in the Australian series,” Zondi told Independent Media on Monday.

“But the Australian series is definitely not a trial for him as we all know what he’s capable of. He is a very experienced bowler and we are pleased to see him back on the field.

“We have chatted about him playing again and he bowled 10 overs in the club game on Saturday, which is a good start for him. Obviously the intensity wasn’t at a high level compared to international cricket, but Dale is one of the top bowlers in the world, which is why we selected him for the World T20. We can’t wait to see him in action during the Australian series ahead of the World T20.”

The Proteas kick off their World T20 campaign against England in the opener on March 18 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and Steyn is quietly confident about their chances of success. “It’s a strong South African side,” he said.

“And hopefully, if all goes according to plan and we play well – and they have been playing (well against England) – with a little bit of luck, you always need a little bit of luck, we can bring home our first international trophy.”

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport

Dale Steyn fell to the ground on the Eden Park pitch, a broken man. Grant Elliott had just destroyed South Africa’s World Cup dreams.

Original source: Steyn wants some World Cup ‘luck’

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