Variations in pace key to success, says Steyn

South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, seen here in February 14, said that variations in pace will be the key to success on subcontinental pitches at the World Cup, where batsmen have so far dominated.

By Manoj Vatsyayana

Mohali: Mar 1, 2011

Variations in pace will be the key to success on subcontinental pitches at the World Cup, where batsmen have so far dominated, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn said on Tuesday.

“You’ve got to be street smart I suppose when you bowl in India. You can’t bowl the same pace at the same place as the guys will work you out. In my second over (against the West Indies in the opening game), I was cut and then I changed my pace. You’ve got to have better understanding,” Steyn said.

South Africa’s spinners, led by Pakistan-born Imran Tahir (4-41), played a key role in their team’s seven-wicket victory over the West Indies in Delhi, but Steyn’s class was also evident as he grabbed three wickets.

“In South Africa, you can get away sometimes because of the bounce. In India, it does not bounce and finds the middle of the bat and goes flying to point or extra cover for four. I had to look to change my plans (in the first match) and change my line,” he added.

Spinners have grabbed the headlines in the early stages of the World Cup but quality pacemen such as Steyn and Australians Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Brett Lee have also left a mark.

“Australia have got wicket-takers. They have the strike bowlers and that’s the way they go about,” said Steyn, who has so far taken 72 wickets in 49 one-day internationals.

The South African said the mandatory change of ball after 34 overs could help fast bowlers maintain pressure on the opposition.

“The change of ball helps a bit. It matters at the start what the ball is doing and the change of ball can help in swing. Zaheer Khan, in the other match (against England), got a few balls to reverse swing and got Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss. The change of ball could be important.”

Steyn said the break between matches was good for the players. “It helps (us) stay fit and makes everybody available for selection. With different conditions there will always be a dilemma in selection and we find it pretty good.”

Steyn also said the Proteas had no fitness concerns, adding: “Every team has a couple of niggles. But every single guy will be up for selection, come Thursday.”

The Netherlands lost to England and the West Indies in their opening two Group B matches.