One of the greatest fast-bowler of our generation Dale Steyn has said that he mentally went through a very tough period of recovery and rehabilitation due to the enormity of various injuries to his body. Steyn eventually made a comeback recently on the Test tour of Sri Lanka, but feels, that the dangerous shoulder bone injury that he recovered from is the worst he has had to go through.
In an interview given to Sport24, Steyn said, "Yes. It’s the worst injury I have had in my career by a long way. I have played 15 years of international cricket and prior to injuring a bone in my right shoulder in the first Test against Australia in 2016, the longest I was sidelined from the game for was four weeks. When I went for the MRI, the doctor told me that they normally see that type of injury from someone who has fallen off a ladder or been involved in a motorbike accident."
"When I arrived at the hospital the doctor asked me: “Where’s your motorbike?” For the first two months, I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t get my arm near the steering wheel. When I got past that stage, and starting using my arm again, my shoulder specialist said I could start running - before then no movement was allowed. I then trained every day and saw the physiotherapist three times a week. My recovery went well, but it took a little longer than I expected. I missed a lot of cricket, but I was always confident that I would get back out there. I hadn’t played any cricket in a number of months, so the key was to get overs under my belt."
On his return, Steyn is mighty impressed with young and very quick Kagiso Rabada and said, "Kagiso Rabada is hot property at the moment and is a great bowler. (Rabada was recently 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." and added.
Steyn, who is possibly in the last phase of his glorious career, also talked about his ambitions from now on.
"I would love to win a trophy for South Africa in white ball cricket. A number of cricketers who have played before me - Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith are legends of the game, but weren’t fortunate enough to win an ICC-sanctioned event during their playing careers. I might join those names, but hopefully I will still be around in 2019 to play in the next World Cup and have a crack at winning the trophy in the UK." said Steyn who is desperate to play and win the ICC Cricket World Cup in England next year and added, "However, I have got to earn my way back into the Proteas ODI team. Our fast bowlers are doing quite well of late and, if they are in-form and performing, I don’t mind sitting aside and watching them shine. However, I still believe I can deliver the goods and hopefully I can represent my country for a couple more years. Hopefully I can get some white-ball games this year and put my hand up for the spot in that World Cup team next year (Steyn made his ODI debut for South Africa in 2005, with his last coming against Australia in 2016)."