The wait for Dale Steyn to overcome Shaun Pollock’s record of most Test wickets for South Africa has become the talk of the town, as Steyn couldn’t manage to do so during the recent Sri Lanka Test series.
The 35-year-old paceman has been closing on Pollock's tally of 421 wickets for a couple of years but injuries and health issues since November of 2016, has allowed him to equal the milestone and not go past it.
However, now a fitter and healthier Dale Steyn has said that his intentions are to reach the 500 Test wickets mark.
"Actually, it's like a bit of a burden now. I hope it just gets out of the way and we can just carry on. Because there's more wickets in me than 421. I have got 500-plus on the horizon so I don't know why we are so consumed on one number. When I am bowling it's like 'You're gonna get there, you're gonna get there'. I know I am, but I'm not interested in getting there," Dale Steyn announced.
Steyn added, "What I am interested in doing is performing well for my country, taking wickets and winning cricket games. If I can do that, those records, that fame and all the other things you want with professional sport will come."
According to his current wicket taking rate, it would take him approximately 17 Tests to reach the 500 wickets milestone; and according to the ICC's Future Tours Programme, would take him until early 2021 to do so, assuming that he plays each Test till then.
His injury problems began in December 2015, and about a year later he broke his right shoulder and tore three major muscles during the first Test against Australia in Perth. He made a return in January 2018 against India and injured his heel in the first Test itself.
Dale Steyn said about the Sri Lanka tour, "I actually quite enjoyed Sri Lanka. The interesting thing is that lot of people have been saying he's injured, he's struggling and everything like that. But I probably just got through the hardest Test of my career and I'm absolutely fine. That's a plus in my book. I am pretty pleased with that. I walked away from both of those Test matches not leaving the field once or having any problems. So the cloud of injury is, in my opinion, now gone."
"When I started playing cricket I was always told 'Don't play for money, don't play for fame, don't play for records. If you are good enough it will come'. I thought that's perfect, I'll take that. I have played for 14 years. That went quickly. And in that 14 years came all of those things. If I have to sit there and focus on one thing like records, it will consume me," he said.
Leading fast bowling Test wicket-takers:
Glenn McGrath (Australia) 563 wickets
James Anderson (England) 540
Courtney Walsh (West Indies) 519
Kapil Dev (India) 434
Richard Hadlee (NZ) 431
Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 421
Dale Steyn (South Africa) 421
Stuart Broad (England) 417
(With inputs from Reuters)