EVEN as majority of the bowlers get plundered in the IPL,South African paceman Dale Steyn continues to run through the defences thanks to his deadly combination of pace and swing. In a media interaction on the eve of Sun Risers Hyderabad’s match against Mumbai Indians,the 29-year-old opens up about the secrets behind his bowling skills,his love for skateboarding and his unique way of interacting with the fans. Excerpts:
n How difficult is it to bowl fast and make it swing at the same time?
It’s either a combination of fitness or skill or you are just born to run fast. But there is lot of hard work involved and that can help the others who arent necessarily born fast [bowlers. I get to bowl with the new ball and it swings. When I was young,I was taught the top secrets of bowling fast. From a young age,you learn to swing the ball and later on you learn to control it.
n Who were your idols?
I grew up in a small town when there was no cricket growing up. I took up cricket quite late when I 10 years old. It was my friends father,who had played few first class cricket,who taught me the basics. As I got older,I got introduced to the people who played at the higher level. My idols were Alan Donald and Brett Lee. I liked how Shoaib Akhtar bowled. Then,there was Hansie Cronje who was a God among kids. So they were my heroes…
n How did you develop liking for skateboarding?
I use to skateboard when I was younger. I live by the beach in Cape Town. It is also a hard sport. You are going to fall a lot before getting it right,just as with cricket. In cricket,you are going to lose more games than you win. But you need to appreciate the ones you win. There is a great connection between the two sports.
n How difficult is it to adjust to the sight of batsmen plundering bowlers,which is often the case these days?
I think after years of suffering that,you tend to get used to it. Quite often,when you bowl a good ball,you are going to get hit for four and you bowl a bad one,you get a wicket. So that is a common ground that you can get used to. The rest is just experience. When you played for a long time,you can get handle it better than the person who is playing for the first time. I have a couple of years under my belt. If I go for five sixes in a match,I will be able to handle it a little better than I would have five years ago.
n Thisara Pereira was on the receiving end of Pollard on Monday but you managed to contain him. What was the secret?
He tried to bowl a bouncer and a yorker to Pollard but it didnt work. Then he went to the next best thing,the field changed and that didnt work. I was able to sit back and see what was happening. I went in,bowled a completely different line and it worked well. It could have been me instead of Thisara who would have bowled a bouncer and or a yorker got hit for a six. Its unfortunate he was the guinea pig of the night and got hit.
n You like giving away match tickets for the fans…
I love leaving tickets for the fans. I try to interact with lots of people outside cricket as much I can. I guess its because of my upbringing. I come from humble background,a small town boy and did not have lot of money. I know how it feels to meet your first international cricketer. I never forget the moment when I arrived at the Titans and Alviro Petersen had just packed his car. Petersen had not played for South Africa till then but I told myself,’Oh my god its Petersen car and I don’t know what to do!’ I just tried to remember that kind of stuff and impact it had on my life. Hopefully,I can have impact on those who I have never met in my life. Because whatever I say or I do,some young kid might have a direct influence. He can go on and achieve a lot of success or he can go on different direction altogether. In the kids’ eyes,cricketers are everything.