Ingredients of a Dale Steyn

Posted by
2 minute read

Dale Steyn - more than just fast

Is there a real lack of perspective these days, or is it just that the internet has provided an outlet for people who never had it? Before the first Test, some people were talking up Vernon Philander as being the main threat to England’s batsmen and after the first day, others felt Dale Steyn had become mediocre.

Philander’s a fine bowler, but to get all het up about his bowling average was to ignore the fact that he had only bowled in South Africa and New Zealand – two of the more seam-friendly nations. His Test achievements are striking, but they don’t begin to make a case for superiority over Steyn. Steyn is the best fast bowler around because he is the best fast bowler overall.

Philander is probably more accurate, but Steyn is still pretty tidy. Shaun Tait is faster, but Steyn is fast enough and he’s a damn sight quicker than Tait after eight overs, never mind after 20. James Anderson is probably more skilful, but Steyn still swings the ball. Basically, he is up there with the best no matter what fast bowling quality you look at.

He’s athletic. He has great cardiovascular fitness. He’s aggressive. He bowls swing and seam and a mean bouncer. He has a fair idea how to size up a pitch and he can identify batsmen’s weaknesses. His bad days aren’t too bad and his good days are exceptional.

We know all of this, because we’ve seen him take hundreds of Test wickets. To suggest that Philander’s somehow more of a threat because he’s dobbled the shit out of the opposition in two home series and one in New Zealand is demented. What’s his average in India? We don’t know. Steyn’s is 20.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. In days gone by there weren’t so many opinions floating around. If you wanted informed opinion, you would read the newspapers. If you wanted wild speculation and general chatter, you would have to go outside and speak to people. And let’s face it, nobody wants that.

  2. With all due respect to Anderson, I don’t think he is as skilful as Steyn. Steyn can swing it just as well as Anderson, at much faster speeds, and is way more adaptable. His spell against India in Cape Town in 2010 has got to be one of the deadliest ever sent down in Test Cricket, not to mention the havoc he wrecked in Nagpur.

    Steyn also seems to have this ability to kick it up a notch when its needed, something very few bowlers can do nowadays. Somehow, he seems to be able to get batsmen out with pure aggression, which you need against the Dravids, Cooks, Chanderpauls and Trotts of the world

    1. Properly aggressive bowlers have been on the decline since the glory days of the Windies when they had a whole stack and most other teams had one or two nutters in their ranks. In recent years there has been Flintoff, Lee and Akhtar. At the moment there is Steyn, Roach and maybe Finn.
      The aggression is the one thing they can’t teach at the cookie cutter academies – if anything those players get weeded out for not having a suitable temprament.

    2. This relates to the point we were making in the previous post about getting out the patient players. Aggressive fast bowlers burst the bubbles they bat in.

      Uday, Anderson bowls in- and out-swing with new ball and old much more regularly than Steyn. Steyn’s adaptability is helped by his pace, aggression and other qualities.

    3. The trouble is that aggressive bowlers often come at a price – Flintoff and Lee averaged well over 30 in tests. Dale Steyn is a bit of an exception, in that he has both the aggression and the consistency. In the absence of such a bowler (maybe Finn will become this), it’s quite a risk picking a player purely because their aggression might work if Plans A & B have failed, and actually might be a factor in causing these plans to fail.

      To repeat what I said on the earlier thread, England didn’t lose the test because of a lack of bowling aggression. They lost because they didn’t bat well enough in either innings.

      Plan A – swing them out.
      Plan B – bore them out.
      Plan C (which by definition is only needed in good batting conditions) – put up huge totals and hope scoreboard pressure gets them out.
      Plan D – bat out the draw.

      You might not win every test this way, but you can’t fail to win series.

Comments are closed.