Dale Steyn deserves my all-time South African record, opines Shaun Pollock
What's the story?
With just five wickets needed to become South Africa's all-time leading Test wicket taker, legendary fast bowler Dale Steyn has earned the plaudits of the man standing between him and history. Expressing delight at the prospect of Steyn returning to the international arena, iconic seamer Shaun Pollock has affirmed that his erstwhile teammate deserves to overtake him and reach the summit of South Africa's Test bowling summit.
"He needs his cricket to show us where he is at. I saw on Twitter he had a video of him in the nets - I mean he is operating probably there at 60% or 70%. I think he just needs cricket for his own confidence and how the injury has come on and most importantly to show the selectors and the South African public what he is still capable of. It will be wonderful if he is still back to his best. He is a class player to watch and wish him well", Pollock told Sport24.
The 44-year old added, "He deserves it (the record), he really does. He has been the best fast bowler we have ever produced since readmission for me.The way he has gone about things and the way he has performed in all conditions - he has just been brilliant. So there's no doubt he deserves to get it and I hope it comes soon."
Steyn currently has 417 wickets from just 85 Tests at an astounding average of 22.30. The Phalaborwa-born pacer's potency can be discerned from the fact that it took Pollock 108 Tests to end on 421 scalps, the most by any South African bowler till date.
In fact, Steyn's jaw-dropping strike-rate of 41.4 is comfortably the best in Test history (among all bowlers with at least 200 wickets).
The heart of the matter
Steyn's previous Test appearance came against Australia at the WACA during the end of last year wherein he hobbled off due to a shoulder injury. He was subsequently forced to undergo a surgery in Cape Town and has since gone through an extensive rehabilitation program.
After missing out on South Africa's trip to England at the start of the summer, the 34-year old revealed that he had set his sights on returning to the Proteas fold during their upcoming home season comprising of Tests against Bangladesh, India and Australia. Last month, the right-armer switched allegiance from Cape Cobras (with whom he began his domestic career) to Titans in order to complete his 'last leg of rehabilitation'.
South Africa are set to host Bangladesh for two Tests at Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein. With the first match slated to begin on the 28th of this month, Steyn will be looking to grab those five wickets and usurp Pollock's place at the top of South Africa's bowling history.
Having proved himself as a genuine game changer in every nook and corner of the globe, there is very little doubt that Steyn is South Africa's greatest ever fast bowler in Tests. Pollock's gracious words stand as a testament to his reputation in the game's traditional format.