Kolkata: Dale Steyn, the South African pace ace, dropped a bombshell when he said playing in leagues like the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was more rewarding in terms of cricket while it’s more about the money in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Speaking to cricketpakistan.com, Steyn, who is playing for Quetta Gladiators in PSL 2021, explained as to why he stayed away from the IPL last year: “I wanted some time off. I found that playing in these other leagues was slightly more rewarding as a player. I think when you go to IPL, there are such big squads and so many big names and so much emphasis on maybe the amount of money players earn and everything like that, so sometimes, somewhere down the line, cricket gets forgotten,”
Steyn, who has played in 95 IPL matches for four franchises over the years with Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore, said: “When you come to like a PSL or the Sri Lankan Premier League, for that matter, there is an importance on the cricket. I have only been here for a couple of days and I have had people in and out of my room, just wanting to know about where I have played and how I went about it. Whereas, when I go to something like the IPL that gets forgotten and the main topic is how much money did you go for in this IPL? That’s just me being brutally honest. I wanted to stay away from that and really put more emphasis on playing and bringing good vibes to good cricket teams and tournaments I feel are worth it.”
One of the greatest fast bowlers of this generation, Steyn also lauded Pakistan’s ability to produce great fast bowlers frequently and heaped praise on some of their rising pacers like Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf. “I had a chat with Shaheen with last year. I think he broke his thumb or hand or something like that last year. He was down but he was amazing. At Melbourne Star, I had Haris Rauf with me and I was so impressed by him and it wasn’t long after that he started playing for Pakistan.
“There is a breeding machine of fast bowlers here in Pakistan, which is great to see because the wickets are not conducive for fast bowlers - so to see so many fast bowlers come out of here is fantastic,” he said.
He also lauded Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam as one of the finest batsman in the game at the moment. “I’m looking forward to bowling to whoever is in front of me. Babar is a great player. It really doesn’t matter who you are bowling against,” he said.
“Babar is a wonderful player and it would be a great opportunity to try to get him out or bowl against him. But you never know, I might not even get to bowl at him because it’s only four overs or he might get a duck, who knows but he has been fantastic for the last couple of years,” he said.
Steyn has picked up 97 wickets in his IPL career and maintained an impressive economy rate of 6.91.