South Africa paceman Dale Steyn is set to break his former captain Shaun Pollock’s record of being the country’s most successful Test bowler.
Both Pollock and Steyn are currently tied at 421 Test wickets, and the latter will be primed to take over the charge and set a new record going into the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, starting Wednesday, December 26.
The 35-year-old Steyn, who crossed the 400-wickets mark in Tests in 2015, has been in and out of action due to injuries.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) December 24, 2018
Returning to red-ball cricket after having played his last Test against Sri Lanka earlier this year in July, Steyn said he has “a lot more wickets in me than just one more.”
“I haven’t saved myself just to take one more wicket than Polly (Pollock). There is a bigger goal at the end of the day,” he said ahead of the opening Test.
“I do think it will be a beautiful thing to happen, if it happens. It has taken a long time and these records are great things to achieve. I will be highly honoured, but I will get back to my mark and try to take the next one.”
Steyn said the spin-friendly conditions in the last Test series he played against the island nation in Sri Lanka were difficult for the pacers, and added that he is now looking forward to bowling at his own backyard at Centurion, his home ground.
“It’s just nice to have a red ball in my hand again,” he said. “Sri Lanka was tough conditions for the fast bowlers, but by the looks of things, the way the nets have been playing out in the middle [at Centurion], there is some spice. I am looking forward to getting out there and playing five competitive days of cricket.”
With pacers Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi out of the Test due to injuries, Steyn is aware of the added responsibility. “The onus will be on bigger players like KG [Kagiso Rabada] and myself to lead the attack,” he added.
“Duanne [Olivier] has been bowling beautifully, he was the highest wicket-taker in the Mzansi Super League.
“In the four-day game he played the other days he got a few wickets and even got Faf [du Plessis] out. If he slips under the radar and he comes up trumps with wickets and wins us the game I will not be complaining.”