Resur­gent Steyn brims with joy of be­ing back

The Herald (South Africa) - - CLASSIFIEDS - Telford Vice

A FA­MIL­IAR voice bub­bled‚ bur­bled and boomed out of the wide open win­dows of the bustling play­ers’ en­clo­sure at an oth­er­wise all but empty New­lands yes­ter­day.

The sound of en­thu­si­asm skipped across the out­field like a stone across a pond and might have leapt Ta­ble Moun­tain it­self.

Who­ever that man was‚ he was as happy as the sun was high in the blind­ingly blue af­ter­noon sky. That man was Dale Steyn. “I kind of for­got what it was like to be with the guys‚” Steyn said as he stood in a wel­come pool of shade af­ter clat­ter­ing down the stairs in his spikes‚ kit­bag on his back‚ sun­block ev­ery­where.

“Last night, we had a Ti­tans team thing,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one was at ‘For­ries’ [Foresters Arms‚ a beloved old­school New­lands pub] and then we had din­ner and went out and had one or two drinks and en­joyed each other’s com­pany.

“Which was dif­fer­ent‚ be­cause for a year I’ve been sit­ting around watch­ing guys on TV.

“You still feel like you’re part of a team but I’m sit­ting on my couch send­ing mes­sages say­ing ‘well done’ or ‘hard luck’.

“Now I’m here and we’re talk­ing‚ some­times about the guys’ per­sonal lives‚ and you don’t get that when you’re on the couch in the evening watch­ing cricket.

“And the next morn­ing I go train by my­self.” Steyn is sell­ing him­self short. Far from “sit­ting on my couch,” he is been bat­tling his way back from the bro­ken shoul­der and ripped mus­cles he suf­fered while bowl­ing against Aus­tralia at the Waca in Perth last Novem­ber.

Four T20s into his come­back‚ “I’m fine. I’ve just got to play more games. That’s what’s go­ing to help.

“I can train as much as pos­si­ble but game time is go­ing to be the most im­por­tant thing for me.

“But you can only play one game at a time and T20 is the best I can do right now.” Steyn will pull on his whites for the first time since that aw­ful day in Perth in Paarl on De­cem­ber 20‚ when he will be part of an SA In­vi­ta­tion XI squad for a three-day match against Zim­babwe.

“Hope­fully‚ if I get through there fine‚ I can’t see any rea­son why I can’t play the test match – ob­vi­ously se­lec­tion per­mit­ting. But my body will be fine.”

That is the Box­ing Day test against Zim­babwe at St Ge­orge’s Park‚ a four-day‚ day-night‚ pinkball af­fair.

But Steyn sounded a touch torn be­tween set­ting play­ing in that match as his goal and help­ing the Ti­tans‚ the dom­i­nant T20 fran­chise‚ shoot for the stars.

“Com­ing into this I thought I’d play a cou­ple of games and pre­pare my­self to play for the Proteas‚” he said. “But now I’m in it.

“There’s a semi­fi­nal com­ing up [on Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day] and I want to play.

“Whether I can play is an­other story with the three-day game com­ing up. And then there could be a fi­nal [on Satur­day next week].

“‘Bouch’ [Ti­tans coach Mark Boucher] might be‚ like‚ ‘Where do you want to be?’

“But I’m gen­uinely in it to hope­fully go through and win it. I feel like I want to be put un­der pres­sure‚ and I feel like the Co­bras can do that from a bat­ting per­spec­tive.

“But the Knights seem like they’re up for the fight – they were keen to come at us and to come at me.”

Again‚ Steyn was be­ing hard on him­self. In his first two overs at St Ge­orge’s Park on Sun­day, he trapped the Knights’ Rudi Sec­ond in front with his first de­liv­ery and had Kee­gan Petersen caught be­hind with his third for spell fig­ures of 2/4.

Steyn strayed once down leg and once out­side off in the 12th over‚ and Ryan McLaren took ad­van­tage both times to hit the only bound­aries in a re­turn of 4-0-20-2.

But‚ when you are as brim­ming with the joy of be­ing alive and well as the newly re­paired Steyn‚ all you can see is the next step for­ward.

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