Fit-again Dale Steyn quells retirement talks
What's the story?
Reiterating his commitment to cricket, veteran pacer Dale Steyn has dispelled doubts surrounding his fitness and vehemently quashed any prevailing murmurs of retirement. Ahead of South Africa's action-packed home summer, the 34-year old has asserted that he is ready to wreak havoc on visiting batsmen.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the warm-up match against Zimbabwe, Steyn insisted, "I like to play cricket. I want to play cricket as long as I can. Age isn't really a factor. I am still fitter than the youngest guys in the side. It was just about getting through this year and trying to decide whether I still wanted to do it."
He added, "I think most people at 34 start thinking about other things in life like retirement and family and those types of things. I am in a fortunate position that I don't really need to think about that much right now. Cricket is my main focus."
Steyn's previous appearance for South Africa came during last year's Perth Test against Australia. Upon fracturing his right shoulder, the legendary fast bowler underwent a surgery and subsequently embarked on a gruelling rehabilitation program.
The heart of the matter
Currently on a comeback trail, Steyn had spent more than a year on the sidelines before returning to action during the 2017 edition of the Ram Slam T20 tournament. After gradually building his fitness to meet the rigours of red-ball cricket, the seasoned campaigner is making a long-format comeback in the ongoing warm-up match between Cricket South Africa Invitation XI and the touring Zimbabwean team.
During the opening day of the three-day fixture, Steyn sent down 12 overs and conceded just 16 runs. A contentious umpiring decision as well as a dropped catch may have kept him wicketless. However, he managed to warm-up nicely without feeling the discomfort left behind by the vestiges of his injury. While he bowled well within himself in the practice match, the stalwart has fired a warning shot at visiting batsmen by declaring that he can still lift his pace whenever required.
Steyn needs just five more scalps to eclipse Shaun Pollock and become South Africa's all-time leading wicket-taker in Tests. He will return to the international circuit during the four-day Test against Zimbabwe which is slated to begin on December 26 at Port Elizabeth. The three-match series against India will start at Cape Town on January 5.
At 34 years and 177 days, it may appear as if there's not much cricket left in Steyn's splendid career. However, as long as he remains fit, there's no reason why the pace icon cannot continue to play for the next couple of years.