England’s Stuart Broad recently surpassed Steyn as Test cricket’s seventh-highest wicket-taker – and doesn’t seem close to retiring. He isn’t anywhere close to getting past West Indian Courtney Walsh, but will remain a key cog in the hosts’ XI for the ongoing Ashes series in the United Kingdom.
If not Steyn as an individual, then Broad in tandem with fellow strike bowler James Anderson really typify some of the attributes mentioned by Walsh in this blog for Betway. Walsh was a genuine force to be reckoned with alongside the lanky Curtly Ambrose.
Amby and Court’s leading example
They were magnificent to watch and really testified to what they think it takes to be a great bowling partnership. Ambrose, in particular, remembers how his partnership with Walsh didn’t necessarily start on the field. They were room-mates initially, when their bond was struck up and the results followed from there. There is no secret or magic to how they got it right for such a prolonged period – it was via hard graft, practice and all the tough mental and physical challenges that come with being a leading Test cricket combination. The same could be said for Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, whose journey as a terrifying twosome is tracked in this infographic.
Steyn, to an extent, would have grown up watching those guys in action. His action, on purpose or without really knowing it, would have been modelled on some of the factors evidenced by Walsh and Ambrose.
Steyn was right up there, but not quite
Not as tall as the pair, Steyn certainly didn’t get as much bounce, though could dig in a good short ball or two when he wanted to. He relied on real pace and late swing, whereas Walsh and Ambrose found a bit of both, but had the added advantage of extra height. They also played on pitches, like Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson did, that were not as prepared as some of today’s tarmacs are.
In the end, Steyn retired from the longest format because he wants to prolong his career in ODI and T20I cricket. This, too, is not really something the likes of Walsh and others had to contemplate back in the day. There is far more cricket on the go now, as fast bowlers announce partial retirement – much to the gratitude of their temperamental frames. Even some batsmen, who are not as prone to injury due to the rigours of bowling, decide to opt out of one format and stay in the other. Such is the life and times of the modern-day cricketer.