dale steyn
Dale Steyn (AFP Photo)

Adam Gilchrist rates South Africa pacer Dale Steyn very high and feels the veteran ranks right up there at the top among the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history.

Steyn continues his international comeback as he prepares for the three-ODI series against Australia – his first in the country in two years after he picked up a terrible shoulder injury the last time he was there.

Across formats, Steyn boasts of an enviable record for a fast bowler in times when the game looks heavily tilted in favour of batsmen. In 88 Tests, Steyn has 421 wickets at 22.64 and a strike-rate of 42. In 118 ODIs, his 185 scalps have come at an average of 26.16 while in 42 T20Is, he has picked up 58 wickets as well.

When Steyn was making his name, Gilchrist had already sealed his legend and was serving the last years of his international career. “He’s got to rank up in the top echelon of fast bowlers ever,” Gilchrist told Cricket.com.au. “Statistically, he’s fantastic. He was just starting to get towards his prime when I was finishing, so it was obviously very challenging for me!”
Gilchrist said despite a fearsome persona on the field, Steyn is a gentleman off it. “I’ve been nothing but impressed by his whole approach and attitude. He seems to just not over complicate it, keeps it simple. I’ve chatted with him a little bit but those who really know him and spend time around him, he’s one of the gentleman of the game and nothing but impressive,” he said.

The tour in all probability will be Steyn’s final to Australia, which makes him all the more motivated. As a matter of fact, Steyn will return to the same venue (Perth) where a shoulder injury during the first Test in 2016 not only curtailed his tour but also sidelined him for months. “It is weird to be back here,” he admitted. “The last time I walked off here I didn’t realise how bad my shoulder was. When I went in to see the doctor for the MRI he asked if I fell off a ladder or motorbike, I didn’t realise it was actually that bad. Eight months of physiotherapy and non-stop rehab got me back, I’m excited to be back here.”

The first ODI will be played at the Perth Stadium on Sunday.