London: South Africa pace legend Dale Steyn finds himself in a highly exclusive class of fast bowlers. West Indies great Michael Holding recently picked him alongwith with Holding's former teammates Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall and Australia's Dennis Lillee as the four greatest fast bowlers across generations.
"I have experience with those three guys, but just watching, you can't go Dale Steyn outside of photography. He has been one of the great fast bowlers in an era. You'd pay to see it," said Holding in a Sky Sports Podcast.
Holding said that the fact that Lillee managed to remain lethal even after being forced to reshape his action completely due to a back surgery shows how good he was. "Lillee had it all: rhythm, aggression, control. He was extremely fast when he started, but he had to completely reshape his action after a back injury and find different ways to get hitters out after losing a lot of rhythm," Holding said.
"When you see that someone can adapt in that way, you have to rate him highly, as many players are not as effective when they miss a beat."
"Malcolm started with a good rhythm, but as time went on he learned a lot about fast bowling. He could evaluate opposition hitters so quickly and so easily. In those days you didn't have many tapes or computers, it was all in his head. He understood how to deal with hitters," said Holding
"Andy was someone I learned a lot from. He hardly ever spoke, he used to walk around the field with a sullen face and people thought he looked aggressive and must be a miserable guy. But that wasn't Andy.
"He was my roommate for most of my career and we used to talk about cricket almost every night. A lot of times, we would order food, we would stay in our room and talk about cricket. You would never believe how much this guy knows," said Holding.