“I was born to challenge Virat” – Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn has spent 13 months getting back to full fitness after breaking his shoulder in the Perth Test against Australia in November 2016 and his journey has been packed with frustration. Not the least of which has been the scepticism of many South African supporters.

“It has taken hundreds of hours of hard work and dedication, not just by me but the brilliant people who have overseen the rehab,” Steyn said. “In all that time, despite the bleakness it involves, I never once lost my passion and belief in returning to what I love – taking wickets,” Steyn said.

Two days before the first Test against India and Newlands Steyn produced his most compelling training performance since his return, yet he knows it may not be enough to earn a recall to the Proteas starting XI.

Opening batsman Dean Elgar survived -and edged – several fearsome deliveries from Steyn during a middle practice at Newlands on Wednesday and effusively admitted: “He’s bowling as fast and as well as I have ever seen him.”

Head coach Ottis Gibson expressed reservations about including Steyn in the starting XI for the Newlands Test on the basis that he has not played a first-class game for over a year and Steyn conceded that it might be “a risk.”

“I understand the concerns. I know that I have to fight my way back into the starting XI. But I have been bowling at full strength for over a month now and have built up the overs in my legs. I am completely confident that I’m ready to go, I am desperate to compete. I need to bowl, the fire is burning hot-hot. There are no doubts, but I will have to apply the fire to the starting guys to try and regain my place!” Steyn said.

After almost a decade in the IPL Steyn’s love-affair with India is well-documented and he is keen to return this year. But for now his sights are set on making an impact in the Test series. “I was born for this, it is what I am here for. Bowling to and competing with guys like Virat Kohli is why Dale Steyn was made.”

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