Steyn: Black Caps are World Cup ‘dark horses’

South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn believes Cricket World Cup co-hosts New Zealand could be the surprise package at next year’s tournament.

Steyn was a member of the South African team that lost to New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the 2011 tournament and will face the Black Caps again in three ODI’s later this month before embarking on a tour of Australia, the other nation playing host in February.

“New Zealand are a dark horse team whenever there is a tournament around,” Steyn told Cricinfo.

“We all know Australia is a good team – they’re in your face all the time, it’s pretty annoying really.

“New Zealand are one of those teams that can be nowhere for three years and get to a World Cup and they just suddenly turn it on.

“For us it’s important that guys like Quinton de Kock go there and familiarise themselves with those conditions, and the players they’re going to be playing against,” he said.

Steyn, who will likely be key member of the Proteas’ push for their first ever World Cup title, added that watching his team mates excel on the international stage inspired him to keep performing at his best.

“It’s nice to have inspiring guys like AB de Villiers and Vernon Philander. Watching AB bat, watching Hashim Amla bat, watching Vern and Morne Morkel perform, it makes you want to be a better player yourself,” he said.

“I don’t want to be better than them, I just want to be able to participate in a winning side. If I can win that World Cup without taking one wicket, I can still have a winner’s medal around my neck.”

The Proteas start their ODI series against New Zealand on Tuesday 21 October.