Steyn’s right – the game needs needle
DALE STEYN gets it. No, not the loads of wickets he takes (he does that anyway), but the world we live in and particularly cricket’s part therein.
Steyn had local media in Canberra eating out of his hands at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the third One-Day International, unlike in Perth last week when he didn’t speak as many had hoped he would.
South Africa’s rivalry with Australia in the last six years in particular has become heated. The end of the era of the great Australian team of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist coincided with the improvement of South Africa’s side in which Steyn, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers featured prominently.
The rivalry reached a crescendo in that final session of the deciding Test in Cape Town this year, with Steyn and Michael Clarke getting involved in a heated exchange.
Ever since Steyn said in Zimbabwe earlier this year that Clarke owed him a more sincere apology for what was said in Cape Town, this series had its “selling point”.
On Tuesday, Steyn gave a well rounded explanation of what cricket needs in the modern age, where there is so much to draw the attention of the public.
Speaking about Cape Town he said: “When the game is on the line … we had 30 balls to bat to save the Test, they needed two wickets, it’s day five, it’s hot.
“It got heated and a little out of hand and things got said that shouldn’t have been said. One team won, one guy was extremely happy and the other guy didn’t win and he wasn’t very happy about it.
“If that Test was a draw who knows what would have been said when we were shaking hands. Would there have been an apology? Would someone have said something? At the end of the day it doesn’t matter man, that’s why we go watch Test cricket. It’s great fun, great to see and I don’t expect anything less in this series.”
Warming to his theme, Steyn continued: “It would be a disappointment if Mitch Johnson didn’t abuse Faf (du Plessis), it would be disappointing if I didn’t abuse somebody, if (David) Warner didn’t have a go at someone; why would anyone come and watch us play cricket, apart from our skills?
“It’s got to be entertaining and that’s why we play.”
He is so right. Cricket is not the most attractive sport in the world, and with bumbling administrators and continuing scepticism because of fixing, the extra “needle” garnered from intense individual rivalry should be welcomed.
Steyn gets that.