Dale Steyn narrates horror phone call: ‘You’ve got five minutes we’re evacuating. What do you want us to take out of your house?’

The hearts of the cricketing world went out to Dale Steyn and Faf du Plessis when the fire raging at Cape Town was threatening to engulf their houses while they were busy thousands of miles away on national duty for South Africa in the ICC World Cup cricket 2015.

How does one concentrate on a cricket match when everything that was part of your life since childhood is under threat of being wiped away in minutes? It’s truly incredible to think that these brave hearts stayed back to serve the nation, not knowing if their emotional treasures would survive the inferno. (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Points Table)

Steyn gave an idea what went through his mind in the pre-match press conference on Friday. “It wasn’t easy. I was actually staying in Canberra and woke up and I left my phone on silent that night. So I woke up that morning and had like 80 messages or something, 30 missed calls. So I quickly jumped on it and realised the fires were a lot closer to my home than initially thought. The scariest part came about 3.30 in the morning in Cape Town. I don’t know what time it was in Canberra. But the people looking after my house called me and said, listen, ‘You’ve got five minutes we’re evacuating. What do you want us to take out of your house?’ I’ve never been more scared in my life. I’m sitting halfway across the world, and everything that I’ve ever earned or gotten in my life, every wicket, every ball, every bit of clothing in my 31 years is in that house. It was pretty scary to think. What do you tell this person? They’ve got five minutes to take everything out. I was pretty much shitting myself.”

Steyn has nothing but undiluted gratitude for those who slogged to combat the raging fire. “They did a tremendous job, those firefighters and the volunteers that put their lives at risk. People who never met me before, never met most of the people. They were just kind of like throwing themselves at it and putting out those fires. Got Manners sitting over there and I’m sure he was as nervous as I was. Jacques’ house, his lawn was on fire. If I was at home I’d dive straight into it and do what I can to help. It really is terrible. A lot of animals, pets, homes, nobody should go through that kind of stuff. It’s a pretty tough time back home right now.”

Faf du Plessis brought out the gravity of the situation when he told his social media followers, “Cape Town is burning and the Volunteer wildlife services have run out of money to fuel the helicopters. Please make donations here to refuel the choppers.”

Hats off to Steyn and du Plessis!