Dale Steyn has never seen his current pace of life before, never even imagined it. The world’s top ranked bowler is experiencing unprecedented demands on his time but is coping – just!
His zest for life and barely contained enthusiasm for just about everything he does remains gloriously undiminished but he is finding it all harder than ever before to fit in. His first task upon return from the West Indies was to find “everything orange I could lay my hands on” in order to “get into the proper spirit” of Holland’s semi final against Uruguay.
“As soon as Bafana Bafana were eliminated I started supporting Argentina because they were playing some great football but then, when we got back from the West Indies, I switched to Holland. They are such a great team to support – there’s an orange army everywhere and the supporters are such brilliant people. So I went out on the morning of the semi final and bought orange scarves, wigs and big glasses. I also had my face painted completely in orange. What a fantastic day, fantastic match – and incredible event. We all felt a bit regretful that we were missing most of the tournament while we were in the Caribbean so I wanted to get stuck in as much as possible as soon as I got back,” Steyn said.
Dozens of other commitments have been taking up his time – corporate, sponsor and charity – and although he’s battling to keep up to date his enthusiasm remains the same: “I sat down for an hour to start answering sms and email questions the other day and by the time I had finished there were more new ones waiting for me than there had been when I started. I never really understood what came with the price of success, but I’m not complaining. I’ll never complain – I’m living my dream and I’ll do whatever I can to help as many people as possible,” Steyn said.
One ‘downside’ for the “boy from Phalaborwa” is his departure from the Titans, the Franchise which gave him his chance in first-class cricket and which did so much to facilitate his rapid rise to stardom. As from this week, having moved to Cape Town last year, Steyn will represent the Cobras rather than his ‘home’ team.
“The move was for two reasons. The first is just practical. I live in Cape Town now and, although I was happy to travel to Centurion to play whenever I had the chance last season, the reality is that I spend so much time travelling anyway that I need to cut down where possible. I might only get the chance to play provincial cricket two or three times in a season and that would have meant six flights.
“Fortunately there were no bad feelings between me and the Titans. I am sad to be leaving them and incredibly grateful for everything they did for me. A big piece of Titans cricket will always be in my heart. They are sad that I am leaving, too, but they understand the situation.
“The other reason which made the decision a little easier was that Richard Pybus has taken over as Cobras coach. Richard and I go back a long time – he played such a big role in my early career and he knows areas of my game as well, if not better, than any coach. So, for the sake of the Proteas and my international career, it makes sense that I’m here in Cape Town with him,” Steyn said.
And with that, the Phalaborwa Express raced off to answer more queries and requests about his availability. “I could do with another three or four hours per day,” he said. “I don’t want to say ‘no’ to anybody.”
The reality is, however, that, despite the best endeavours of his excellent manager, Dave Rundle, Steyn is going to have to learn the delicate art of saying no.
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