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“Bittersweet but grateful” – Dale Steyn, one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era, on Tuesday announced his retirement from all formats of the game through a Twitter post. He was one of the world’s fiercest fast bowlers and without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best fast bowlers this generation has seen.
“It’s been 20 years since training, matches, travel, wins, losses, strapped feet, jetlag, joy, and brotherhood. There are too many memories to tell. Too many faces to thank. So I left it to the experts, to sum up, my favorite band, the Counting Crows.”
“Today I officially retire from the game I love the most. Bittersweet but grateful. Thank you, everyone, from family to teammates, journalists to fans, it’s been an incredible journey together,” Steyn said in a statement on social media.
There was something special about Dale Steyn. The smooth run-up, clean action, which everyone has tried at least once in their childhood and then that jump at the delivery stride. He always managed to bowl exceptionally well even on pitches that didn’t provide a lot of assistance for fast bowlers. He used to bowl at a good pace while managing to extract a lateral moment from the pitch at the same time by hitting the same spot consistently.
Not too many non-Asian bowlers have had a good run in the subcontinent. But Steyn was someone who was capable to swing the ball on flat decks, wreaks havoc in the opposition camp, and was a nightmare for many batsmen. Whether it was a slow wicket in Galle or flat deck in Ahmedabad, Steyn was absolutely brutal.
Your legacy won’t end ever, Mr. Dale. And we say again, ‘ Hail Dale’.
Steyn played 93 Tests, 125 ODIs, and 47 T20Is for the Proteas since making his debut on December 17, 2004. Overall, the right arm pacer took 699 international wickets at a sublime average of 23.37. The right-arm pacer took 439 wickets in Tests, 196 in ODIs, and 64 scalps in the shortest format.
He held the No.1 Position in ICC Test Bowling Rankings for 2343 Days between 2008 and 2014. The iconic fast bowler was also part of famous Proteas win over the last 20 years including two-Test series wins in England and Australia and two drawn series in India. Steyn last played international cricket for South Africa on February 21, 2020, in a T20I against Australia at Johannesburg.
All the important numbers behind Dale Steyn’s greatness in international cricket
Here’s a look at some of the records held by one of the most lethal bowlers the world has ever seen.
439 – Dale Steyn’s took an aggregate of 439 wickets in 93 Tests – highest by a South African bowler.
42.3 – Best strike rate by a bowler with over 200 wickets to his name.
92 – Dale Steyn has picked the most wickets by any bowler on Asian soil (92).
8 – Most times named in ICC Test team of the year.
74 – Wickets at an average of 20.01 in 13 Tests, including five five-wicket hauls – his best bowling performance in a calendar year.
7/51 – His career-best bowling performance in Tests came against India at Nagpur in February 2010.
80 – A joint-World record for taking the least number of Tests by a fast bowler. New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee had also taken the same number of Tests (80) for his 400 wickets. Overall he is the 3rd fastest to 400 wickets.
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