Thursday, 6 January 2011

Is Steyn as deadly as Lillee?

The final day of the heavyweight tussle in Cape Town may have ended in stalemate, but the previous four produced some great Test cricket. In between two epic knocks by Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Sachin Tendulkar produced a battle for the ages. Steyn's sizzling spells on the third day showed just why he's ranked the number one bowler in the world right now. Cricinfo just published a piece I wrote on the South African quick, comparing him to Dennis Lillee.

It's already generated a little bit of feedback from readers. Some seem to agree with my point of view ("Steyn's without question the best bowler in the game at the moment... much like Dennis Lillee he only ever tries to get you out"), while others clearly don't ("No ... definitely he will be hammered by Viru today"). A few of the comments are entertainingly random ("Jacques Kallis could beat Chuck Norris" and "Sreesanth the best bowler of all time") but I have to admit the one I like most was by an anonymous poster who declared that Steyn "is ONE of the best if not the BEST fast bowler in the morden world." The morden world? Surely we can be a bit bolder than that - the best fast bowler on the Northern Line, at the very least.


  1. I do agree that he is at present the best fast bowler in the game.But, having said that I am a bit circumspect in labelling him as one of the great.No doubt he is a genuine quickie, who keeps the batsman on their toes all the time and the spectators on the edge of their seats. He steams in and put the balls in the right areas with venom right throughout his bowling spells. He is fit,agile and one of the better fielders when it comes to fast bowlers. He literally has everything a fast bowler could ask for- pace, deadly in-swinger, toe crushing yorker when need, physically very fit, mental concentration to bowl long spells with patience and an awesome action which is very effective and easy to repeat ball-after-ball. So he is what I would like to refer to as the 'comlete package' when it comes to fast bowlers and indeed every captain's dream.

    The main reason for me not to keen to tag him as one of the greats is simply because I feel he hasn't played enough to rate him amongst the all time greats. He has played 46 tests and has tore batting line-ups time and time again with great consistency which is reflected by enviable average. As Imran mentioned he has had prolofic success in his career so far which tempts us to compare n rate him amongst the all time greats. What I would like to do, is to wait a bit longer see how his performances are when he has played for a bit longer(i.e about 60-70 tests) and then compare him to the others and hopefully we can then be definitive when declaring him as one the best.
    Steyn is 27 now and so far and to his credit he has had a pretty smooth ride in international cricket, especially the past few years. The only thing which remains to be seen in if he could still stay fit and bowl South Africa to test victories even when he passes the 30 year old mark. Lillee, if I'm not mistaken suffered a potentially career ending injury, but he someone managed to fight anginst all odds to make a come back as a much better bowler. Lillee didn't have the physios ,dieticians, trainers and doctors to look after him like what Steyn and other International cricketers have nowadays. Statistically speaking Steyn at present certainly sits on top of the list, but for me longevity matters and a champion is one who pulls off victories not only when he is at his peak but even when the chips are down.

    Dale Steyn no doubt has the potential to achieve heights which no other player has achieved before but he just needs to continue his good work for a few more years .

  2. Charing Cross branch or Bank Branch?

  3. Thanks for the comments guys. @Nirru: he does need to keep it up to become a great but what I'm saying is that right now - in his prime - he's just about as deadly as there's ever been. It's a really good point you make about Lillee not having physios, biomechanics experts etc around to help him. In fact, I think Lillee's own book on fast bowling and the work he's done at the MRF academy in India have contributed to the improved support for bowlers these days and this is a big part of his legacy. @Plato: it's sad that the days of the bowler are long gone.


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