Dale Steyn joins BBL franchise Melbourne Stars for 2019-20 season
The 36-year-old Steyn has joined Stars only for the first six games for now, but he has the option to extend his stay, if he is not picked by the South African selectors for the home series against England. © AFP

South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has been signed up Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Melbourne Stars for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Steyn, who announced his retirement from Tests in August to concentrate on the shorter formats, follows in the footsteps of his former captain AB de Villiers, who signed the dotted line for Brisbane Heat last week.

The 36-year-old Steyn has joined Stars only for the first six games for now, but he has the option to extend his stay, if he is not picked by the South African selectors for the home series against England.

Steyn will return home after the Melbourne derby on January 4 – a month ahead of the international assignment. But if the national team selectors persist with trying the youngsters, the paceman could likely return to Melbourne. “I don’t think we can rule out that,” said Steyn.

“Obviously the first prize is always to play for your country. Representing South Africa is the only thing I’ve ever done for my whole career so far … so to get back into that team is prize number one.

“But if that doesn’t happen, I still want to be playing cricket. I don’t want to be sitting in South Africa not doing anything. So, if there’s a window and a chance that I could go back over and play for the Stars, that can be open to discussion. It certainly can happen. But we’ve got to wait for the Proteas selection decision, and we can take it from there,” he added.

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Steyn has not played international cricket since March this year. As a contracted player, he would have required a NOC from Cricket South Africa (CSA) to play in the BBL, but his recent Test retirement worked in his favour.

“They’re (normally) pretty tight on not allowing players to go and play in the Big Bash,” Steyn said. “But knowing that I’m not available for the Tests, wanting to keep me fit, and also having one eye on the Twenty20 World Cup at the backend of next year, they probably felt like it was a good call.

“Which is great because it keeps me in the running for that World Cup. Winning a World Cup medal with your country would be a big highlight. If I can go over to Australia and get some more experience in those conditions… that could be beneficial,” he concluded.