Dale Steyn became the quickest to 400 Test wickets in terms of the number of deliveries bowled at the weekend and former Proteas star and Highveld Lions stalwart Neil McKenzie had some advice for the many batsmen who have fallen to the great fast bowler’s skills and the many who will try and play him in future.
McKenzie, who played 58 Tests and occasionally crossed swords with Steyn on the domestic circuit, said the key to facing the fiery 32-year-old lay in punishing the few bad balls that come your way and being able to handle the short-pitched delivery.
“Of course the batsman is always up against it against Dale, but if you can jump all over the occasional bad ball that comes your way then it helps release the pressure. You’ve also got to be able to play the short ball well because Dale uses that a lot. He has more of a skiddy bouncer, but he uses it to take away the batsman’s feet and the follow-up ball or two deliveries later is often the one that gets the wicket. So the feet have to be working well,” McKenzie told The Citizen.
The scorer of more than 19 000 first-class runs and maker of centuries in England, India, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa said what made Steyn special as a bowler was his ability to even be a threat on true batting pitches.
“What makes Dale such a great bowler is that he has weapons for whatever pitch, whatever the conditions are. If the pitch is seaming, he can obviously use that, if there’s bounce he uses that, if there’s swing he’s a master of moving it both ways, both conventional and reverse swing. If the pitch is slow or flat, then he has the skills to still be dangerous. That’s the ultimate bowler, McKenzie said.