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Steyn credits Smith’s captaincy as recipe for his success

Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn has credited former captain Graeme Smith as the reason for his success in Test cricket.

Steyn was speaking in a Sky Sports interview with England fast bowler James Anderson, former England captain Nasser Hussain and former England batsman Rob Key.

Steyn, who retired from Test cricket last year, is the leading Proteas Test wicket-taker of all time with 439 wickets.

The South African star spent 2 358 days as the world’s No 1 bowler in Test cricket between 2008 and 2014.

Steyn, 36, insisted he only achieved that feat thanks to calculated decisions made by Smith.

“I was actually quite spoilt when I played for South Africa, I had a good captain in Graeme (Smith),” Steyn told Sky Sports Cricket.

“I felt for guys like Morne (Morkel) and Paul Harris, they would do the donkey work. They would build up pressure and eventually get a wicket. They would see it as an opportunity to sneak two or three and Graeme would take them out of the attack and put the ball in my hand.

“I guess for those 2 000 days at the top that was his (Graeme) recipe for success. He would use everyone else to do all the hard work and then he’ll put the ball in my hand and I delivered, but it was because it was a calculated decision by a captain who used me well.”

Steyn also credited former Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for guiding him from behind the stumps.

“I had the best ‘keeper in the world, Mark Boucher… Whenever he saw something that was out, he would run over to me and firstly swear at me because that was Boucher’s way of doing things and then he’d say to me, ‘Okay I’ve noticed your left arm is falling away’ or ‘You’re too straight compared to last week’. It was always good to have that person who was there for me all the time and that was Mark,” said Steyn.

There’s been an ongoing debate in world cricket as to who the best fast bowler of their generation is: Dale Steyn or James Anderson.

Anderson has played 151 Tests and taken 584 wickets to date at an average of 26.83, while Steyn finished his career on 439 wickets in 93 Tests at an average of 22.95.

Steyn acknowledged that he is a huge fan of Anderson’s and admitted he has “no skill” in comparison to his England counterpart.

“I’ve watched Jimmy bowl and he’s ridiculous, I’m a fan,” he said

“I could never bowl those in-swingers and use the crease the way he did… I have no skill! Bowl a couple of slower balls, a fast bouncer and yorker and just try and hit the mark as often as I could.

“As the years went on, I started to develop more skills… but I knew what my skill was, and that was to run in and bowl fast and hit a length.”

Anderson returned the compliment, but stated that he shouldn’t be compared to Steyn, but rather to former Proteas seamer Vernon Philander.

“He is doing himself a disservice, he is definitely skilful… he was intimidating in more ways than one,” said Anderson.

“I’ve always seen myself and Dale as different bowlers, at the back end of my career I am nowhere near as quick. I feel like Vernon and I are more similar. Dale is someone I have definitely watched, particularly with the Kookaburra ball, which has been my nemesis for quite a long period in my career.”

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– Compiled by Lynn Butler

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