In what will be his final shot at the World Cup glory, South Africa pacer Dale Steyn is highly motivated to give his best and end his career with one final trophy which is missing from his illustrious resume.
South Africa have endured frustrating times at the World Cup – from rain crushing their hopes at the 1992 edition to a famous tie in the 1999 semi-final. At the 2015 World Cup, they lost in the semi-finals with New Zealand needing five to win from five deliveries. Grant Elliot hit a six off the penultimate delivery, bowled by Steyn, to break South African hopes.
“I will give my best during this World Cup,” Steyn, who left IPL 2019 after playing just two matches to recover from a shoulder injury, told The Times of India. “I have got all the important trophies in my drawing room except this World Cup. I want to have the World Cup medal before I quit the game.”
The string of defeats and rub of green not going in their favour has also left an impact on Steyn, who has 196 wickets from 125 ODIs.
Admitting that his team don’t start as one of the favourites this time around, the right-arm pacer says that doesn’t mean they will be lacking in confidence. “Very unfortunate. What can I say? We’ll try our best this time. The whole team is motivated like never before. I am personally trying to convince my teammates that we should not waste this opportunity as well. I was injured before the IPL. But rehabilitation was going on. I have been telling my physio that I have to be fit, fully fit for the World Cup. We’ll start the campaign as one of the confident teams,” he said.
He added, “(Our) Batting department will have specialist batsmen and three to four allrounders. If you go through the list, it may not be great but quite good. The atmosphere of World Cup will encourage the whole team to do well. We’ll tell ourselves, ‘let us all give it a go’. Forget about the past. But prove the whole world that South Africa also can play excellent brand of cricket. And if we can manage to do that, we’ll progress in the tournament.”
Current form and home conditions do make England the favourites to land the title and they will have the initial advantage, feels the 35-year-old. “We are all aware of the fact that England are playing at home. The conditions are known to them. So they will be, initially, slightly ahead of other teams. But that is not all. Ultimately we all have to rise to the occasion. We have to do well in all the matches. All I can say is that South Africa will play as a team,” he said.
South Africa will face host England in the tournament opener on May 30 at Kennington Oval, London.