Dale Steyn is ecstatic to be back in the Proteas limited-overs set up and is keen to provide a stiff competition to fellow pacers for World Cup berth.
It is worth mentioning here that Steyn has not played white-ball cricket for South Africa since October 2016 primarily due to injuries. Meanwhile, young pacers such as Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi have assured places in the national ODI side and are expected to share the new ball in next year’s World Cup, slated to be held in England and Wales.
Recently, Steyn was selected in South Africa’s 14-member squad for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe. Moreover, the Proteas are due to play Pakistan and Sri Lanka in two separate five-ODI series before the World Cup. Steyn, 35, certainly has a chance to make his case for the World Cup campaign.
"It's good to have challenges. I think Lungi and KG would also appreciate the fact that I'm coming back into the side because they would also know that their positions are under threat. We all are. You can only take a handful of these fast bowlers to the World Cup and we're all fighting for a spot," Steyn quoted as saying by Cricbuzz in the build-up to the three ODIs against Zimbabwe.
"Everyone wants to go to the World Cup and I would love to go to the World Cup, but individually I would love nothing more than to see the Proteas win a World Cup. And if that means that I don't go, then so be it. I did my job coming in here, pushing guys to perform at their best. Pushing KG, pushing Lungi, pushing Andile, all these guys. I'm just happy to be here, playing cricket, and challenging them," he added.
Steyn, who has played some county cricket for Hampshire this season to stay sharp, feels he is ready for the ODI challenge. However, he is completely aware that the comebacks are not as easy as it appears sometimes.
"I'm feeling really good. Having played my last game only two weeks ago for Hampshire I feel like I'm going, I'm flying," Steyn said.
"But white ball is a whole new challenge. I've been playing red ball in UK, so white ball is going to be a different challenge. All the skills, batters coming at you, the Powerplays all of that kind of stuff. And I haven't played white ball international cricket for quite some time," he continued.
With the first ODI against Zimbabwe starting in Kimberley on Sunday, Steyn is busy honing his ODI skills in the nets.
"In the nets I'll just work on a couple of skills: yorker, a couple of slower balls, and all the skills a fast bowler has in their arsenal. But then it's just mindset. You know, it's getting used to the fact that there is a chance that you could go at eight an over, even 10 an over. A lot of us run in and we think that four and a half an over is perfect. Those days are gone! No bowler runs in and takes 3 for 40 anymore. Bowling in Powerplays is really difficult,” Steyn asserted.
"ODI bowling is really a mindset thing right now. And if you can get into the right mindset and be content with the fact that one day you might go for a 100 and the next day you might be the hero, then you'll be fine. It's just a mindset really when it comes to one day cricket," he concluded.