By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Dale Steyn is determined to make next year’s World Cup his limited overs swansong and thinks his experience could make a big difference to South Africa’s otherwise raw white ball pace attack.
The paceman is happy to admit that South Africa’s main strike bowler Kagiso Rabada is now “way better” than him, but the 35-year-old thinks the knowledge he has garnered from 116 ODIs and two previous World Cups could be invaluable in England.
“Our biggest problem in white ball cricket now is our bowling,” Steyn told Reuters.
“I don’t think it’s a massive issue but I think in terms of experience it’s our biggest problem.
“If you look at our top six batters, those guys have all played 800-plus games. But if you look at our bowling, our bottom four, they have probably played 150 games.
“That’s a massive difference. There’s a heavy weight that weighs up there.”
Steyn believes he put his injury woes behind him in the recent two test series against Sri Lanka but was left out of the squad for the one-day series that followed and has not played a 50-overs international in nearly two years.
The paceman said he had spoken to South Africa coach Ottis Gibson and will play white ball cricket in England and in South Africa to get himself ready to be in a position to mentor the younger quicks.
“They are all learning as they play but unfortunately you can’t go to a World Cup still learning. You need to know what you are doing,” Steyn said at a promotional event for GoPro.
“Even at 35 I am still learning but I know what I am doing. These guys need that. I am hoping that’s what I can offer in the white ball scene and obviously play and win games for the country.”
Steyn said he was particularly keen to help South Africa get the best out of 23-year-old Rabada.
“He’s way better than me. I have obviously got my records and everything but he’s way better than I am right now,” Steyn said.
“What he lacks is what I have, and that’s what I can share going forward. I will just carry on doing what I do and he can feed off that, he can learn off that and he can just become so much better.”
South Africa will be without AB de Villiers at the World Cup after the batting talisman announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in May.
Steyn, who made his debut in the same test match as de Villiers in 2004, said the 34-year-old’s retirement was “super sad” for world cricket.
“The world wants to see their superstars and he’s definitely one of them, if not the biggest one in terms of batting,” he said.
“Opposition fear him but you never really judge yourself until you have tested yourself against the best. If the best is no longer there it’s quite difficult to judge yourself.
“He’s only one player but he is a massive player.”
Steyn wants to extend his career for a few years yet but thinks he will not be the only player to call time on white ball cricket after the World Cup.
“I think you are going to see a massive exodus. That’s my opinion. I am being Nostradamus now and I am calling it,” said Steyn, who has taken 180 wickets in ODIs.
“What’s the point really? Another World Cup will be in another four years and that’s more than enough time for other bowlers to become amazing players.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Nick Mulvenney)