CAPE TOWN — Dale Steyn is landslide leader at present in a global cricket website’s poll to establish which paceman is the most menacing in international cricket.
In reply to the question “Who is the fiercest fast bowler in the world at the moment?” readers of www.espncricinfo.com are virtually unanimous that the South African spearhead, who is about to do thrilling battle with India’s emerging band of new strokeplayers on our soil, is top of the pile.
At the time of writing, as many as 1 908 of 2 611 voters — or 73,08% — had opted for Steyn in a six-strong list also including Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris (Australia), Mohammad Irfan (Pakistan), Stuart Broad (England) and Steyn’s Proteas colleague Morné Morkel.
A distant second is Irfan, the towering left-arm strike factor who missed the recent Pakistani limited-overs visit to South Africa through injury (though he was a handful in the United Arab Emirates), with 13,63% of the vote.
Johnson’s frenzied blitz on England in the first Ashes Test at Brisbane recently, where he got match figures of nine for 103, has clearly not been enough yet to constitute a serious threat to Steyn. He lies third with 10,92% of approval.
Morkel is fourth (1,23%), Harris fifth (0,61%) and Broad sixth (0,54%).
Steyn still leads the ICC Test bowler rankings, with fast-medium compatriot Vernon Philander next and then spinners occupying positions three to five: Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan) and Ravichandran Ashwin (India) respectively.
The Phalaborwa Express has also rocketed back up to No. 5 on the ODI bowlers’ chart, on the back of 14 wickets in his last three appearances in that format.
Of the fast bowlers in the poll, only Johnson (eighth) and Morkel (ninth) crack the top 10.