Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
27 Sep 2018
8:50 am

‘Mentor’ Dale is still ‘one of the best’, says Ottis

Heinz Schenk

He's already 35 but South Africa's joint leading wicket-taker in Tests is regarded as a potentially key piece of the World Cup puzzle.

South African Coach Ottis Gibson (L) having a word with Fast bowler Dale Steyn (R) during the practices session at SSC Grounds Colombo on July 19, 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. ( (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images)

The rise of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi means he doesn’t hog the spotlight anymore but Proteas coach Ottis Gibson still holds Dale Steyn in high regard.

South Africa’s joint leading Test wicket-taker is set to play in an ODI for the first time in almost two years when the three-match series against Zimbabwe kicks off on Sunday.

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“Once Dale is fit, to me he’s still one of the best two bowlers in the country, other than KG,” said Gibson.

“He’s someone who’s still clearly very passionate about playing for his country, and we’ll make an assessment on Dale in this series and the next against Australia, the next six games, and we’ll see how we go forward from there.”

Indeed, a reasonably undemanding assignment against the Proteas’ embattled neighbours might be a perfect way for the 35-year-old to get back into rhythm.

More importantly, Gibson will hope Steyn is the experienced figure around which he can build his exciting but young attack.

While Rabada and co performed admirably in the series win against Sri Lanka, there were times when a bit of wisdom was lacking.

“With his experience, he’s a mentor anyway because that’s the kind of guy he is,” said Gibson.

“He’s talking to the guys around the group, and to have his experience there, whether he plays or not, is great. There’s nothing to say he’ll play every game, but to have him in and around the dressing room and the nets passing on his experience can only be a good thing for the guys.”

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