Steyn backs his fitness

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Veteran Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn says that he feels good as he prepares to return to Test cricket in the Boxing Day clash against Zimbabwe.

Steyn injured himself in the first Test against Australia in Perth last November and has spent much of the last 12 months sidelined through injury.

Speaking after play on day one of a warm-up clash with Zimbabwe in Boland Steyn said: “I feel good, I don’t feel like I am in any pain anywhere.

“That’s quite strange because I played a career with niggles all over the place, so it is quite nice to bowl now without anything.

“It is just about getting overs under the belt, and the recovery over the weekend and then pick it up again when I get to Port Elizabeth.”

Steyn feels that he is still able to keep up with the younger players on the circuit even though he is nearly 35.

He went on: “I like to play cricket. I want to play cricket as long as I can. Age isn’t really a factor.

“I think we all have that one friend in life that runs the Comrades [a marathon of 90 kilometres] up until he is 60. I would like to think I am one of those guys.

“I don’t really worry about fitness. I am still fitter than the youngest guys in the side. It was just about getting through this year and trying to decide whether I still wanted to do it.

“I think most people at 34 start thinking about other things in life like retirement and family and those types of things. I am in a fortunate position that I don’t really need to think about that much right now. Cricket is my main focus.”

Steyn is unconcerned about the pace he is bowling at right at the moment and feels he still has it in him to top 150kmph.

He added: “Cricket is strange. All you need to do is bowl one ball at 145, 150 kilometres an hour and people see that you can do that, and it’s in the back of their mind all the time. When a spinner comes out and rips one big the batsmen know one’s going to turn somewhere along the line, so they’re wary of it.

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“I don’t have to run in and bowl 150 consistently all day long. I’ve just got to be able to do it every now and then.

“The batsmen will know that it’s there, and I’m able to take their feet away, hit them in the head, whatever. The rest of the time I’ve always relied on skill: relentless line and length, trying to knock guys over, and just being smart. When it’s really flat then you can crank it up.”