Durban: Dec 24, 2013
South African paceman Dale Steyn was really upset for being booed by the crowd and being targeted for criticism following the drawn first cricket Test against India, according to his teammate AB de Villiers.
Having lost seven wickets, Steyn and his pace colleague Vernon Philander chose to play it safe as the hosts fell short by eight runs, chasing a world record 458 to win.
Both Steyn and Philander had to cope with criticism for not trying to win the match for their side.
“There were a lot of mixed emotions. It’s difficult to handle those situations. Dale [Steyn] was really upset, he struggled to handle it. It really took Graeme [Smith] and a few guys to help him handle it immediately, because of the crowds, the booing and everyone criticising him and Vernon [Philander].
“They took a lot of strain and it was up to the team to pull through that but it was really tough,” De Villiers told reporters.
De Villiers, who captains the One-day side, though reckoned that the Johannesburg Test was one of the best matches in the history of the game.
“I am always a guy that looks past the results and I feel really lucky to have been part of that. I gave it my best shot, so did Faf [du Plessis], so did the whole team and we just came short in winning a spectacular Test match but very blessed to have been part of the match. It will go down in the history books as one of the best Tests ever. That’s how I felt,” the prolific batsman said.
De Villiers said it was “difficult to explain” about the end result but eventually the game of cricket won.
“It’s a very sensitive one…. We came so far and in that sense, we are all disappointed we didn’t win the game. India will also be disappointed. I watched the highlights and I think Robin Jackman summed it up well when he said both teams would be disappointed but cricket probably won in the end. It was a great Test match and everyone should remember that. It’s really tough to sum it up in the end. It is make or break. You make a silly decision and you lose the Test match. I think a draw was a fair call.”
De Villiers said criticism of Steyn was wrong since “if responsibility is going to be thrown around, it’s on me, Faf and JP and maybe a little bit on Vern at the end there.”
The South African also said that this draw result was “definitely a better achievement than Adelaide (last year against Australia).
Talking about the next Test at Kingsmead, where South Africa have lost their last four Tests, he said, “I am confused about Durban. I don’t know what to expect. I am going to play it like I always play my cricket. I am going to take it one ball at a time and use my experience to adapt as quickly as I can. So will the whole team.
“I think there will be a bit of movement on the first day. Batting first always seemed the better option in the past. I don’t expect as many cracks as there was at the Wanderers. It will probably be a bit more green, a bit firmer, and there may be a bit of turn towards the end of the Test.”
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