Sunday, April 6, 2008

How Good is Dale Steyn?

He destroyed India with 5-23 in only 8 overs to bowl out a famed batting line up for 76 in less than 20 overs on the 1st morning of a test match.

Commentators cited the pitch as a demon and unlike something one will find in India and more like something that would be found in South Africa. But the deliveries Dale Steyn bowled to pick up those 5 wickets were peaches! He got Sehwag and Dravid with beauties, one an inswinger and the other an outswinger. And it was the same pitch on which RP, Sreesanth, and Pathan could do little.

Does this make Dale Steyn an outstanding bowler?

Probably, but he is defnitely the most exciting fast bowler around these days. I remember the 4 wickets in 2 overs that he took in a 20-20 match against the Windies. What a display of fast bowling that was. I haven't seen such good yorkers consistently since the days of Waqar Younis.

So, how good is Dale Steyn?
  • He has taken 117 wickets in 22 tests at an average of 21.41. That includes 8 5WI and 2 10WM.

  • 75 of those wickets have come in his last 11 tests since October 2007. Both the 10 wicket hauls and 6 of the 5 wicket hauls have come in this period.

  • His average of 21.41 is the best average among current test bowlers. Better than Bond, Brett Lee, and Mohammad Asif. Even better than the retired Glenn McGrath, Alan Donald, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis. Among contemporary cricketers only Curtley Ambrose betters that average.
  • His strike rate is 35.6 which is 2nd on the all time list of best strike rates! Higher than Shane Bond, higher than Brett Lee, higher than Waqar Younis! Even higher than the Barnes and Tyson one frequently hears of when strike rates are mentioned. Only George Lohmann betters him.

I believe that makes him very very good. Probaby even the best fast bowler this season - I will be surprised if anyone else has more than his 75 wickets in 11 tests this season.

The question though is - can he continue in the same vein?

Despite my dislike for South Africans, I hope he can. He is one of the more exciting players to come from that part of the world. There's little better than watching a fast bowler in full flow knocking stumps over and it doesn't matter who he is playing for.

How good do you think he is?

He's only 24. Provided he can stay injury free he can play for another 8-10 years. 500 test wicket potential? Probably. Another fast bowling great? Possibly. Best South African fast bowler? Definitely.

(Pic Source: Getty Images, UK Telegraph)

Make your pitch on this post...

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17 Pitched:

  1. obaid said...

    Funny, I just posted a video of his first inning performance and saw this blog entry after it. Q, I wish Id seen him bowl more... but he seems to be a genuine threat. It will be interesting to see how he bowls on a flat subcontinental pitch (probably soon to follow in the 3rd test) where others like W's and Imran excelled.

    Btw what kind of pace does he bowl at?

  2. Q said...

    Great minds think alike Obaid ;-)

    He bowls in the high 140s. He's FAST!

    He picked up 7 wickets including 5 in the 2nd innings on a flat deck in Karachi in October last year.

    Though he picked up only 2 on a flatter Lahore wicket after that test.

    He picked up 7 wickets in each of the 2 tests against Bangladesh in Feb, also on flat decks.

    His record in the subcontinent reads - 43 wickets in 8 tests at an average of 21.09 - slightly better than his career average!

  3. David Barry said...

    I don't think he'll be better than Donald. I haven't seen Steyn bowl, though. I just liked Donald a lot.

  4. Arjun said...

    A lot of bowlers are touted as the 'next big thing' when they come in. Nel, Harmison, Stuart Clark, Bond, Asif, Akhtar etc. None of them are consistent enough to reach the levels of McGrath, Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald or Pollock.

    But I do think Steyn is a fantastic bowler - I've been a fan of his for a long time now. And I do feel he will be a great asset for any team he plays for (by that I mean IPL Bangalore, who bought him for a measly $325,000. I'll bet Steyn wishes the auction was after the series - his value would have doubled! Mallya got a steal!)

    Anyway, I think he can potentially become a very very good bolwer, and can have a great bowling partnership with Morne Morkel, who is really another great quick bowler.

    Maybe we will see David Barry come out with a post on their partnership after 10 years and compare it with the 2 Ws and 2 Cs!

    Still, a long time till these 2 reach the qualities of Pollock. Even longer to emulate Donald.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Steyn is good,but I was impressed more by Morkel,Except for the delivery on which he bowled Dravid nothing was extra ordinary he was struggling with his line it was the Indian batsmen who were committing suicide one after another,he is quick but not as quick as Shoaib,Waqar, Donald or Lee.

    His strike rate is impressive I think the SA fast bowlers they consistently intimidate the batsmen by targeting their rib cage,all of them are quick and all of them are intimidating,but Morkel is quite tall and he has a high action due to which he gets extra lift he is quite accurate and has a good leg cutter,he impressed me more than Steyn although the later took more wickets.

    India I guess sorely missed Tendulkar,but why are they persisiting with Jaffer they should have played Sharma and Gambhir.And Munaf should have played in place of RP.

    Well South Africans have deflated the Indians all euphoria after the CB series has died and reality has set in once again.

    I think the talk of India dominance in the world cricket was premature as their senior players are at the twilight of their careers and they will leave a huge void which will be hard for the youngsters to fill.I don't see that class,their young bowlers are one notch faster than their predecessors but it will take them a while to learn how to bowl on flat wickets.

  6. Anonymous said...

    I just finished watching the 2nd ICL final,it was quite an exciting match,I never saw Inzi leading a team so intensely may be it was because of the prize money,I saw these guys feilding like they have have never done for Pakistan.

    Badshahs set a target of 130 they lost wickets at regular intervals,Inzi got out because of a poor umpiring decision and Azhar was also given out on a ball which was above the waist and should have been given a no ball.These two decisions tilted the match in favor of Heroes,it was interesting to see that all the commentators they were cheering for the Heroes nobody wanted the Badshahs to win.

    Rana Naved bowled an excellent 18th over and tilted the match in favor of the Badshahs 23 were required from the last two overs with 2 wickets in hand, unfortunately Azhar mahmood gave away 12 runs in the 19th over, Rana statrted his last over horribly by bowling two no balls and a wide but he ended up taking two wickets and the match was tied.

    In the bowl out the Badshahs missed three times and the heroes won the match.Abdul Razzak was declared the man of the series and got Rs 4 mil prize check and that diamond encrusted ball.

    Lahore Badshahs lifted the standard of this tournament without them this tournament would not have been a success, something for PCB to think about how they are losing their own talent because of lack of management.

  7. Anonymous said...

    I am very excited (and more than a little scared) to see how he does in England this summer.

  8. Obaid said...

    Great wrap-up Sam!

  9. Jrod said...

    He is South African, so this form wont last forever. he may end up as an offspinner.

  10. Q said...

    David - I was a major fan of Donald too... But I think Steyn had the potential to be just as good if not better..his performance this season speaks for itself..

  11. Q said...

    Arjwiz - it will definitely take him time to reach those heights.. I think though that he has started off in the right direction..

    Out of the bowlers u mentioned i personally thought that Shane Bond and Shoaib Akhtar had the potential to reach those heights. Bond unfortunately has been too injury prone while we all know how Shoaib has fared.

    Mohammad Asif is another one whom i think has a very good future ahead of him. Hopefully he can come back from his elbow surgery and start off where he left. 50 odd wickets in 11 tests is the kind of start Waqar Younis had to his test career. If he can remain injury free he will go on to be one of the great fast bowlers we talk about in 10 years time.

  12. Q said...

    Sam - I agree, Morkel was very impressive in the test. I think Steyn, Morkel, Ntini comprise of one of the best test pace attacks today.

    Jaffer did well in the 1st test so he definitely deserved another game. Plus his record in India is pretty good.

    Who would you drop to play Sharma? From what I hear Sharma's form in the longer version of the game is not that good.

    I think Gambhir, Sharma and others like Uthappa, Raina, Tiwary still have some time before they can fill in the boots at the test level. India is doing it right by using these players in ODIs and giving them the feel of international cricket before they start replacing the seniors in the test line up.

    I know there were a number of calls made by bloggers regarding Indian being the next number 1 but always maintained that while i was possible in the ODI arena, it wont be in the tests arena because the big 4 plus Kumble will move on in 2 years or so...

    But still, one test loss does not make a team bad. They fared poorly and tey will surely bounce back in the 3rd test.

  13. Q said...

    Sam, the Badshahs and Inzi were very very impressive throughout the competition. They played with a lot of passion and showed determination on the field unlike a Pakistani outfit. It was disappointing to see them lose the final but I had said long before that knowing the Paki players I will not be surprised to see them win all their matches and lose the final...

    I'll do a post on them soon..

  14. Q said...

    Uncle J - How long do u give him before he turns to offspin?

  15. Soulberry said...

    He's good...very good. No doubt about it.

    The sum of Steyn, Ntini, Morkel and Kallis is fantastic. Add Harris for variety and SA look the best bowling attack in world cricket.

  16. Q said...

    Oh and I just saw that Morkel bowled the fastest ball of the match at 152kph! Thats FAST! Steyn bowled consistently in the high 140s...fastest being 148 I think...

  17. Q said...

    SB - Thats a just a step above what I said... If u c above I mention Steyn, Morkel, and Ntini being one of the best test pace attacks..

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