It is said that there are not too many sights which evoke as much awe and expectation as a fast bowler charging at the batsman with the crowd getting wholeheartedly involved too. One of a kind who still manages to produce moments of déjà vu when he gets into the groove, Dale Steyn will be eager to fire people’s imagination yet again when he returns to South Africa’s ODI team for the upcoming 5-match series against Australia at home.
Amidst growing uncertainty influenced by the absence of an injured AB de Villiers as well as the controversial quota system, the Proteas will want to put behind all these issues off the field and continue to enthrall their supporters on it. Stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis has turned towards his senior pacer to set the tone ahead of a massive season which extends to a grueling Test series in Australia too.
On the importance of having the speedster back for the series, du Plessis said to reporters prior to the first ODI, “The fear that he puts into the opposition, his name itself, there are a few guys around the world that have that effect. He has done well over a period of time and he puts some doubt into your head as the opposition. His skill and experience is something that you can't get overnight. When Dale is 100 percent fresh and wants to bowl quick, he is a big asset to whatever team he plays in.”
Faf du Plessis also stated the importance of the series against Australia, “For me, this is an extremely important series. I will never say that this is a stepping stone for the Test series or that the Tests are more important, this is a key home series for us. They are resting a few key bowlers which plays a big role in their one-day team and gives opportunities to younger guys but we know their main bowlers will be fresh come the Test series.”
He added, “This group of players will have to play well and make sure that we find some good form because that will play a role going to Australia. Form is important, it doesn't matter the format you play. If you are in good form, you can play any format of cricket. It's important for the players who are in the Test matches to come away from this series with some confidence going to Australia.“
Although the Aussies will be without their new-ball duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, their batting depth should offer a stern examination for the Proteas. They are coming on the back of a 4-1 victory in the recently completed ODI series in Sri Lanka and will be keen on stamping their authority as the top-ranked 50-overs team. Meanwhile, the hosts have a lot to forward too with Steyn spearheading their bowling attack.
With the 2017 Champions Trophy set to begin less than nine months away in England & Wales, Du Plessis will hope that Steyn‘s comeback bolsters South Africa’s confidence significantly.