Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 February 2020

Dale Steyn targets T20 World Cup as South Africa great makes return against England

South Africa's all-time leading Test wicket-taker will be 37 by the time the global showpiece starts in October

Dale Steyn, centre, has prepared for his international return by playing in the Big Bash League for Melbourne Stars. Getty Images
Dale Steyn, centre, has prepared for his international return by playing in the Big Bash League for Melbourne Stars. Getty Images

South African bowling great Dale Steyn is targeting a place in the squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia after switching his focus from Test cricket to the shortest form of the game.

South Africa's all-time leading Test wicket-taker will be 37 by the time the global showpiece starts in October and has not played international cricket since last March.

But he said on Tuesday he was looking forward to his comeback in the first Twenty20 international against England at Buffalo Park on Wednesday.

"I love playing cricket," he said. "I wake up every day and I can't see myself doing anything else right now.

"As long as that drive is still there to play at the highest level, to get batters out, fox them and outsmart them and that kind of stuff, if I can do that I'm going to continue to do that."

Steyn was selected for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales but didn't play a game before returning home with a shoulder injury. He announced his retirement from Test matches in August and said he would devote the rest of his career to limited overs cricket.

But he didn't play in the three-match one-day series against England and he indicated on Tuesday that his focus had narrowed to the 20-overs format.

He said his decision to quit Tests, after taking a South African record 439 wickets in 93 matches, was because of the workload.

"If you're playing Test cricket you could bowl 20 overs in a day," Steyn said. "I could play about five T20s in that space."

He said that in Test cricket he had prided himself on being able to bowl at high pace throughout a long day. The requirements for T20 cricket were different, "but guys need to know that it's still there and that you can bowl a 90 miles an hour bouncer or yorker".

Steyn said he hoped to perform well, but also to impart some of his knowledge to the young bowlers in South Africa's line-up.

"I want to guide them," he said. "I want to stand at mid-off and say, 'what are you thinking, what ball are you thinking of bowling?'."

Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Mark Wood return for England for the three-match T20 series after being rested during the ODI matches.

One notable absentee is fast bowler Jofra Archer, who is out of action with a low-grade stress fracture in his right elbow, and England coach Chris Silverwood has said he may look to limit the number of overs Archer bowls when he returns.

"Things like [bowling 40 overs in an innings] we have to look at," Silverwood said. "But sometimes, when needs must, you've got to do it.

"We managed Mark Wood through both the Test matches he's played here and he's bowled in short, sharp spells. Would we look to do that now with Jof? Yes, we probably would."

Updated: February 11, 2020 07:38 PM

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