South Africa's fast bowling great Dale Steyn has explained why he believes that cricket is both mental and physical test of endurance.
The 35-year-old is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time having won the prestigious ICC Test Cricketer of the Year award in 2008.
Steyn also discussed his Proteas team-mates Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis when speaking to Sport24.
Do you agree cricket is both a mental and physical test of endurance?
Definitely. Someone like Shane Warne played the game on and off the field really well and got into guys’ heads. Even though he couldn’t bounce you and hurt you physically, he was verbally aggressive and would let you know he’d get you out. He made batsmen doubt themselves. I learned from players like him and made a point of incorporating it into my own game. Warne was a master sledger, but most of the time I let my crazy eyes do the talking for me. I will, however, have a word with the batsmen every now and then. It’s important to get under your opponent’s skin and let them know that you are coming for them out in the middle. When you do that, half the battle’s won!
Which young Proteas players have impressed you the most and why?
Kagiso Rabada is hot property at the moment and is a great bowler. (Rabada was named Wisden’s Gold Boy of 2018) The 23-year-old has got everything on his side - pace, skill and patience. I believe he has everything it takes to become the best fast bowler South Africa has produced. I won’t lie - he has got it all. It’s in Cricket South Africa’s hands in terms of how they manage him and his workload. It’s important, so as to ensure that he has a long and successful career for his country... I remember Shaun Pollock slipped a note under my door before I played my first Test. Since he did that, in the latter stages of my career I have done the same for KG and hopefully, he will continue the legacy, as he grows older and develops into a senior player in the side. Meanwhile, Quinton de Kock is so good you can just let the kid do what he wants to in terms of his match preparation. The 25-year-old’s ODI record is ridiculous (De Kock has already scored 13 centuries) and, as long as he keeps scoring runs, he’ll be a fixture in the Proteas side for many years.
What stands out to you about Faf du Plessis’s style of captaincy?
Faf is a very good captain. Graeme Smith looked after his players really well and Faf is definitely doing a very similar thing. Much like Graeme, Faf is a father-figure to many of the players. He takes younger players under his proverbial wing and protects them. Off-field things have a massive effect on how players function on the field. Faf is much like Graeme in the sense that he knows all his team-mates very well. Graeme knew a lot about me from a young age and always took an interest in me. A quality captain gets to know you off the field and finds out what makes you tick.