Dale Steyn: Lord Megachief of Gold 2013

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Same as 2010. In fact, it’s probably worth reading that article again because much of it still applies. We don’t try and overthink the Lord Megachief of Gold award. We don’t get too fancy with it. It was business as usual for Dale Steyn in 2013 and business brought him 51 Test wickets at 17.66.

Start as you mean to go on

Have it!

When you’ve racked up 525-8, as South Africa did against New Zealand back in January of last year, you brace yourself for a long, tough stint in the field. Only in your wildest dreams do you imagine that your opening bowler will take 5-17 in that sort of scenario.

For most bowlers, that would be the standout performance of the year – perhaps even in their entire career. However, as we know, Dale Steyn ain’t most bowlers. He’s a vicious threshing machine into which helpless Test batsmen are fed. He spits out husks. Against Pakistan in February, he conceded eight runs and spat out six husks.

It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, or where: 6-8 is just stupid.

Worse figures, better bowling

Have it from further away and slightly to the side!

What really swayed it for us, however, was Steyn’s performance against India towards the end of the year. That highlighted the quality that separates him from those who are merely pretenders. Dale Steyn is simply unremitting. It’s tempting to list synonyms to drive this point home, but you’re smart people – you can read that one word and appreciate how much we mean it.

Even good bowlers can find themselves cowed from time to time. It might not be the opposition that cause this to happen – it might just be conditions – but at some point or other, pretty much every bowler finds themself ever so slightly disheartened. It’s entirely natural. It’s entirely logical. It would be freakish and delusional to feel any different.

In the first Test between South Africa and India, Dale Steyn took 1-61 and 0-104. In the second Test, India reached 198-1 and Steyn had conceded 62 runs without taking a wicket.

Did he relent? Did he bollocks.

His next 10 deliveries saw the departure of Cheteshwar Pujara for 70, Murali Vijay for 97 and Rohit Sharma first ball. Match and series suddenly veered down an unmarked side road. Then, at 316-5, he was at it again, dismissing MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma within the space of eight deliveries.

Steyn finished that innings with 6-100 and this is why he’ll finish his career with a better average than Vernon Philander. Even when going for runs and with nothing to show for it, he was still hell-bent on dismissing batsmen. That, after all, is what Test cricket is all about.

Congratulations, Dale Steyn. You are 2013’s Lord Megachief of Gold.


  1. Fine choice, KC.

    Mouthwatering prospect x3 coming up in a few week’s time:
    – in the red corner – fragile Aussie batsmen v Dale Steyn & pals
    – in the blue corner – Kallis-less Saffer batting line up v Mitchell Johnson & pals.

    1. You can’t go dishing them out willy-nilly, you know. Just because someone’s your player of the year doesn’t mean they necessarily warrant more than one congratulation.

      But on this occasion, we accept your implied argument that it is, perhaps, warranted, and will duly pluralise.

    2. I was really happy with the singular congratulation.

      I feel that this excellent piece has been somewhat diminished through the injection of excess.

  2. Is he now promoted to the ranks of Grand Lord Megachief?

    I think with Steyn he has come out the other side of being amazing. If any other player in the world took 6/100 against India, I’d say “wow”. OK, I wouldn’t, but you know what I mean. When Dale Steyn does it, it’s just a shrug – thats what Dale Steyn does. He makes jaw-droppingly awesome normal.

  3. 2007 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul
    2008 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul
    2009 – MS Dhoni
    2010 – Dale Steyn
    2011 – Ian Ronald Bell
    2012 – Michael Clarke
    2013 – Dale Steyn

    (I don’t know if the list goes back farther than this. I assume Mark Ealham would have won it at some point.)

    Anyway, after two excursions into cloud cuckoo land, it’s good that you’re back in the real world again. Dale Steyn is a fine choice. When’s the presentation, and can I come to the after-show party?

    1. The after-party’s being held at Le Trappiste in Altrincham. No guarantee we’ll be there though. And Steyn’s busy, he says.

    2. I’ll go anyway. A trip to one of the three bars in Altrincham’s Belgian Quarter is always worthwhile. Beer from a menu, checking the alcohol content rather than the price, glasses that don’t stand up without a piece of wood to hold them… it all contributes to a superb first half of the evening.

      Should I mention that it’s the Lord Megachief of Gold Official Party? Do I need a badge?

    3. You don’t *need* a badge.

      Look, we want you to express yourself, okay? If you think the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, okay? You do want to express yourself, don’t you?

    4. I could join by videolink from the company premises in the City of London, if the event is to be on Monday.

      The Belgian beer, standing up of its own accord without the need for a glass, or whatever, will go down very well with my business partner.

    5. Yeah, we didn’t come up with that particular question. He played for New South Wales in one episode or made reference to doing so and meeting Don Bradman or summat.

  4. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve informed the winner via Twitter, suspecting he may want to celebrate as per usual with a pie & coke in the garage at 2AM, whereupon his girlfriend will Tweet, “It will go straight to your ass!”

    Or at Nando’s. There’s always the possibility of Nando’s.

    1. Is pie and coke so shameful that it’s the kind of thing a South African man has do in the garage?

      It’s hardly model trains or adult magazines territory, is it?

    2. Garage pies are great because the late night consumer can buy and eat the pie in the same location. Any other pie purchase promotes the relocation of the pie, suggesting an obligatory reheat. This is poor form.

  5. Tainted by allowing Vijay etc to survive for 2.5 innings without being blown away.

    if only he had turned up from day 1 of the india series..

  6. If he doesnt turn up from day 1 of Aus series, aus batsmen need not worry.

    Ofcourse, he might rev it up by the 3rd inns of the series. By then, Aus can get away with a test win.
    Unlike India, who failed to take advantage of Steyn’s somnombulent start to the series, Aus will not fail to defend 458

  7. In his early career, Steyn bowled boring straight ones. Then he went through a purple patch of moving it both ways and slower balls that batsmen played across and missed. If he gets LMG by bowling traditional outswing, just imagine if he got his variety back.

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