'Bowlers need to take extra care'

Interview: Dale Steyn on his stint with RCB, sledging and passion for wild life...

'Bowlers need to take extra care'

Fiery Dale Steyn (centre) has made a strong impact during his stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. DH photo / Srikanta Sharma R

The South African pacer has not produced a destructive performance like that in the IPL III so far but Steyn’s contribution to Royal Challengers Bangalore surging to second place on the points table has been invaluable. World’s number one Test bowler touched base with Deccan Herald to speak on his stint with RCB, sledging and passion for wildlife.

Excerpts:

Happy with the way your bowling is shaping up at the RCB?
Yeah, pretty much. After the first couple of games I got an idea of what to do with the ball here. I ran in from one end and created opportunities for other bowlers. Honestly, it should be a team effort and as a bowling unit we have improved from game one.

Do you have to make drastic changes when shifting from Tests to T20s?
Honestly, there is not much difference to be made. But variations hold key in Twenty20. In T20 or even ODIs we should take a lot of care in not to drift towards the leg-side and unlike in Tests extra ball and extra run will come along with it in shorter formats. So, as bowlers we need to take extra care not to err in line in shorter formats.

Is it frustrating to get hammered around sometimes, especially coming straight after a good Test series?
I think every bowler get hit around in T20. In Test matches there are periods when batsmen focus on defensive play and bowlers are allowed to bowl at them. But in Tests too you might go for runs at times, say like four overs for 20 runs, but only difference is that in T20 that can be considered as a good spell. But honestly, I believe you should judge a bowler by not looking at the runs — yes I do agree that scoreboard at the end of the day reflects the bowlers’ effort — but by assessing how he responds to a situation.

But constant punishment can sometimes drive you to a flare-up point, forcing you to resort to verbals...
See, things have turned around a lot these days. Many of us play for different countries, but suddenly when you come to play in IPL you will be in the same team. So these days hardly we resort to hardcore sledging, but yes we do try to see the opposition is a bit unwelcome to the crease.

Yes, I agree sometimes we can respond to situation. For example, when I set plans for a particular batsman and if that guy hits me out of the park I might say something. But I can reach boiling point when somebody says ‘you are not bowling quick enough’, then I can really go ahead.

You remember anyone saying that?
Oh yes, Matthew Hayden talked to me a lot.

We’ve heard a lot of stories about your love for wildlife, fishing and catching a crocodile...
Oh no no! I was not exactly hunting for crocodiles. I love fishing and what happened was when I was fishing for barb, an aggressive and fast fish, a croc hit my lure mistaking it for a fish and guys thought I really got a croc. Yes, I really love fishing and wildlife; it really keeps me in great shape.

Talking about being in shape, in RCB you are under Ray Jennings, known to be a disciplinarian. Any tough moments for you?
Oh no! I know Jen for some time now. He was the South African coach when I made my Test debut and believe me I never thought of playing that format. He saw me growing up from nothing to what I am today.

He has changed his coaching style to adapt to T20 and the demands IPL place upon a coach. That’s fantastic and he has massive impact on us in RCB.

Favourite wicket so far...
Perhaps, I will go back to my first ever Test wicket – Marcus Trescothick and in the same Test I got Michael Vaughan too and it was also a good one. But the wicket of Trescothick set the benchmark for my international career and ever since I wanted more wickets.

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