Dale Steyn: Lord Megachief of Gold 2010

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It was MS Dhoni in 2009. It’s Dale Steyn in 2010.

Sachin Tendulkar ran him close, hitting seven Test hundreds, but it can’t be a batsman every year. Graeme Swann took more Test wickets, but 44 of them were against Bangladesh and a spattered Pakistan side that barely ever looked like limping to 200.

Dale Steyn, however. Dale Steyn has been an unqualified success. The Test figures (and who cares about any others?) are 60 wickets at 21.41 in 11 matches. Those are statistics from a long gone era, but that’s barely half the story.

Strike rate

So far, in his Test career, Dale Steyn has taken a wicket every 39.7 balls. Shane Bond and Steve Finn are in the same ballpark, but they can only boast of 133 wickets between them. Steyn has taken 232.

He is, quite simply, the most destructive bowler of modern times. In the all-time list, only George Lohmann has taken 100 or more wickets at a faster rate and he played in the 1890s.

Here, there and everywhere

Lohmann played on a grand total of nine grounds over the course of his Test career. Dale Steyn played on 11 in 2010.

He went through England at Johannesburg; India at Nagpur; West Indies at Port of Spain; Pakistan at Abu Dhabi; and through India again at Durban. If Dale Steyn played a World XI on the moon, you’d bet on him getting a five-for. Even if there weren’t any fielders.

The Nagpur demolition was the most memorable. We’re brought up to believe that you need great spinners to succeed in India, but after South Africa had made 558-6, Steyn went and took 7-51, unzipping his flies and urinating in the face of conventional wisdom.

So that’s why he’s Lord Megachief of Gold?

No, not really. Dale Steyn is Lord Megachief of Gold 2010 because he makes every Test match he plays in exciting.

When wickets aren’t falling in a Test, the match isn’t progressing. You can score as many runs as you like, but TEST CRICKET IS ABOUT TAKING WICKETS. Steyn drives Test matches. Without him, they’re far less likely to go somewhere.

Plus, he means it. He bloody means it. During the Cape Town Test against England in January, we wrote:

“If you saw Dale Steyn’s celebration when he dismissed Kevin Pietersen on day four, that was quite something; that was a fast bowler on the verge of combustion, so full of adrenaline-fuelled power that he could have towed the continents back into place to reform Pangaea.”

He is hell-bent on taking wickets and it shows. That is watchable in itself. In the same match, he bowled the most spectacular spell to Paul Collingwood with a new ball. It was mystifyingly unsuccessful, but as a passage of play, it was as memorable as anything that’s happened all year.

No-one is doing more for Test cricket than Dale Steyn right now.


  1. Good choice for all the right reasons, KC.

    But his ghastly facial distortions when he takes a wicket should surely count against him in some ways? Has to be mentioned, in any case.

  2. I think I should have typed contortions. Not distortions.

    Although one inevitably leads to the other.

    A bit like Dale Steyn bowling leading to wickets falling.

  3. Surely, you mention just the test numbers for a reason ?
    61 wickets at 31 a piece every 6 overs (more than 5 rpo).

    Yes he is doing more for test matches than anyone else at the moment.

    *goes off to find a chink in his test armor*
    *comes back baffled*

    damn it the guy is good.

  4. Dusty on top I reckon, so likely to reverse swing later in the match. Uneven bounce, might play well for a spinner. So all in all, I think I’d have a deeeeeep third man, a deeeeeep square leg, and a man on the point boundary (point car park boundary).

    Good choice (Steyn). Not as good a choice as Tendulkar, though.

  5. The moon would be a bit like the rarefied atmosphere on the Highveld, I should imagine, only more so.

    If you hit it, it should stay hit (as they say).

  6. Cricketers who might be good at playing on the moon.

    Saj Mahmoon
    Kevin Pietersun.
    Lunar Akmal


  7. Should probably start in the traditional way by naming tonight’s beverage, but haven’t yet decided between saki and port.

  8. Interesting, this. Hughes looks like he’s added a shot to his repertoire (the leave), which makes two in total, the other being the full-blooded smack. Watson looks better than previously. It’s almost like watching test match cricket.

  9. There’s probably one cream cracker’s worth of brie and some sliced maasdam.

    There’s also southern fried chicken. Of late, we’ve been hitting the southern fried chicken. Hard.

  10. Not sure Port would take well to Southern Fried Chicken, although I am envious of your poultry bounty.

    I myself am reduced to coffee (non booze augmented) due to ongoing nye related tenderness. Sad times, reflected in the slightly underwhelming first hour or so.

  11. Overrated combination, port and cheese. I like cheese and I like port, and I don’t mind them together, but there doesn’t seem to be anything extra that you get from the combination. It’s no beer and pickled onions, that’s for sure.

  12. Tea and cake for me. Alcohol dramatically reduces my time spent watching late night cricket.

  13. It has recently been Christmas Bert, and therefore having Port accompanied by cheese is a legal requirement whether you like it or not.

  14. Won the pub quiz earlier, by the way. Here are some questions:

    Where does the international car registration GBM come from?

    Who sang Ricky Don’t Lose That Number?

    What type of plane featured in the James Bond film Thunderball?

    What type of animal did Florence Nightingale carry in her pocket on her rounds?

    Who has the most appearances on Top of the Pops?

  15. Pass
    There is more than one but I’ll go with Vulcan bomber
    Dunno – Vole?
    Probably the Pet Shop Boys, I really have no idea

  16. Don’t know any of those. Probably Tony Blackburn or someone who’s got most Top of the Pops appearances though.

    Came second in the pub quiz. What band was Vini Reilly a member of? We were the only person to get that one.

  17. Of course a vulcan. For some reason I thought of the plane that picks them up right at the very end as being the principle aircraft in that film.

  18. The Vulcan is more important in the film but the other one being at the end is also a possible answer.

    Did anyone go for the rocket belt?

  19. I’m off to bed soon, so I’ll have to leave you with those. Of course, there is no possible way that you could find the answers while posting on the internet, so you’ll have to wait till the morning to find out.

    Vulcan was right though.

  20. According to a website I’ve just checked, it was a B-17 flying fortress so I was wrong anyway.

  21. The anticipation might kill me. I hope Florence Nightingale strolled around with a Honey Badger as protection.

    I am going to believe that to be the answer until you tell me otherwise tomorrow. Hopefully I will have a Florence and Honey Badger dream during my lunchtime power nap.

  22. The B-17 was presumably the other one at the end Dan. The Vulcan bomber being a major plot point.

  23. The B-52s sang Ricky Don’t Lose That Number.

    A B-52 featured in the James Bond film Thunderball.

    Florence Nightingale carried Fred Schneider from the B-52s round in her pocket on her rounds.

    The B-52s had the most appearances on Top of the Pops.

  24. It was definitely a Vulcan in the remake, and we got the points for that. Don’t go upsetting the applecart now, Dan. The results stands, read about it in the papers.

  25. Evening chaps.
    Tonight’s drink so far has been Californian zinfandel (2005 Joseph Swan Russian River Valley)
    Accompanied by Christmas cake.

    Are Australia batting for the draw?

  26. Bert-In the remake it was a missile they used to steal the weapon.

    In the footage it flys over my old town.

  27. Hughes is trying to prove he doesn’t wildly swipe at everything, Watson is biding his time and thinking about how many to let him get before running him out.

  28. Australia are batting for lunch and then they’re going to throw all their wickets away in the afternoon session just to spite all the Brits who can’t be arsed stopping up because they’ve got work on Tuesday and who are trying to get up not-early-but-earlier tomorrow so that the following day isn’t such a massive shock to the system.

  29. Talking about food combinations (earlier), and talking about cheese (also earlier), and talking about Christmas cake (just now), I found out over Christmas that Yorkshire folk put Wensleydale cheese on Christmas cake.

    You’re right, Dan. My mistake.

  30. They love cake ‘n’ cheese that side o’t Pennines. They have opinions about what cheese goes with what cake.

    Babybel and battenburg.

  31. Blimey, something has happened there.

    Yorkshire folk will do anything to be different.

  32. Not a Honey Badger, I’m afraid, but don’t let anybody take that dream away from you.

    Night night.

  33. Chateauneuf-du-Pape and chocolates under the duvet for me and Daisy. Daisy gets good Christmas presents from her clients.

    The PC seemed a long way away under the circumstances, folks. Apologies for that.

    Not at all sure about Southern Fried Chicken as regal TTNT fare, KC. I won’t tell Daisy.

  34. I saw 61 comments and wondered if Steyn was a celebrity. It was not so. And Dandy Dan’s last comment made it worthwhile.

  35. It was an owl, Jo. Nice one.

    Other answers are the Isle of Man, Steely Dan (I thought you’d get that one, Dan) and Status Quo (120).

    Tremendous reading in the reports this morning. How low must Australia have sunk when a debutant getting 37 is seen as being superb and when 50 for 0 after 20-odd overs is seen as a return to form.

  36. Sam, DC thankyou. I love a terrible/brilliant pun.

    I’m pretty confident I’ll be carrying on the same game in tonight’s TTNT. Even if I’m playing on my own.

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