Dale Steyn hopes a stint with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League can boost his chances of representing South Africa at next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.

Veteran paceman Steyn missed the 2019 Cricket World Cup due to a shoulder injury and announced his retirement from Tests in August.

With the Proteas taking on England in four Tests across December and January, the 36-year-old has been granted leave for the Stars' first six games – the last of which is the derby with Melbourne Renegades at the MCG on January 4.

That is exactly one month before the white-ball leg of England's tour to South Africa, and Steyn hopes the BBL experience will help him achieve his ultimate goal of representing his country.

"This is the first year where the cricket schedule gives me the opportunity to come down and enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer," said Steyn.

"Having watched closely from afar, the BBL is a top tournament which has a great reputation overseas. I love cricket and want to make a difference in any team that I am playing for. I have had time to get fit and have been bowling for two months now. I can't wait to get over there and get going.

"Obviously the first prize is always to play for your country. Representing South Africa is the only thing I've ever done for my whole career so far, so to get back into that team is prize number one.

"They're pretty tight on not allowing players to go and play in the Big Bash, but knowing that I'm not available for the Tests, wanting to keep me fit, and also having one eye on the Twenty20 World Cup at the backend of next year, they probably felt like it was a good call.

"Which is great because it keeps me in the running for that World Cup. If I can go over to Australia and get some more experience in those conditions, that could be beneficial."

David Warner likened Jofra Archer to South Africa great Dale Steyn after he took 6-45 in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, but the England newcomer is not surprised by his instant impact in the longest format.

In just his second five-day match, Archer ripped through Australia on a truncated first day in Leeds, taking five of the eight wickets to fall in the final session, including that of Warner (61) as the tourists were dismissed for 179 having been 136-2.

Archer, who was born in Barbados but qualified to play for England in March, showed no sign of being overawed by international cricket when he starred in the World Cup triumph earlier this year and the Test stage does not appear too grand for the 24-year-old either.

He returned match figures of 5-91 in his Test debut at Lord's - when his vicious 92.4mph struck Steve Smith on the neck and led to him missing the match at Headingley due to concussion - but his ability to get wickets on a more pedestrian track at Leeds was even more impressive.

"It's a bit like how Dale Steyn with the new ball tried to just use the conditions and then sort of ramp it up when they need to. That was world-class bowling at its best," Warner said of Archer.

It was the wicket of Warner - one of four Australian batsmen to nick behind - that turned a game that had been disrupted by rain and bad light after Joe Root had won the toss.

Archer got nowhere near the 96.1mph he clocked at Leeds and the threat of the bouncer was only minimal, but the conscious reduction of pace proved productive.

"This wasn't a short-ball wicket, it wasn't as hard as Lord's," Archer said. 

"So it's just get it on the full line and length and it got results today. I don't need to run in and bowl 90mph every spell to get wickets. It's shown today."

On the comparisons with Steyn, Archer added: "It's really flattering. Actually, Dale tweeted a few years ago when I first started for Sussex, it's nice that someone who has played so many Tests and taken so many wickets would even think about me."

Whereas others may be taken aback by Archer's swift adaptation to Test cricket, the man himself thinks he is just doing what he always has.

Asked whether he had been surprised by his impact, he replied: "No. It's the same thing. It's nice to play the Ashes in England at grounds you played at already and are familiar with.

"Sussex has the same hill so to me it doesn't feel like I've done anything different."

It is the end of an era for Dale Steyn in the Test arena but there have been no shortage of magic moments from the South Africa great.

The paceman has opted to call it a day in the five-day format in order to prolong his career and retires as the Proteas' all-time leading Test wicket taker on 439.

While the past few years of his career have been injury hit, in his pomp Steyn was among the most dangerous quicks in the world.

Below we have taken a look back at some of his very best Test performances for South Africa.


Versus Australia: Melbourne, December 2008

South Africa headed to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test already 1-0 up in the best-of-three contest. The Proteas secured a nine-wicket hammering to clinch the series with Steyn at the fore. He claimed a five-for in both innings and contributed 76 with the bat to help South Africa to a 65-run first-innings lead that set the foundations for victory.


Versus India: Nagpur, February 2010

Steyn was at his devastating best during South Africa's opening contest of a three-match series in Nagpur. After Hashim Amla's 253 and 173 from Jacques Kallis steered the Proteas to 558-6 declared, Steyn ripped through India's star-studded order to return Test-best figures of 7-51. India, who made just 233 in the first innings, were put back into bat and Steyn celebrated three more wickets to finish with match figures of 10-108. The series was drawn at 1-1.


Versus Pakistan: Johannesburg, February 2013

South Africa absolutely hammered Pakistan 3-0 during a three-match series six-and-a-half-years ago. Steyn was influential in wrapping up the opening Test by 211 runs. A remarkable return of 6-8 in the first innings was the catalyst for Pakistan's embarrassing total of 49. There was little let up in Pakistan's second knock as Steyn made 5-52 in a stunning Test performance.


Versus New Zealand: Centurion, April 2006

South Africa were up against it in the opening Test against New Zealand in Centurion when their first-innings total of 276 was answered with 327 from the Black Caps, Steyn contributing a modest 2-95. A total of 299 for the hosts' second knock set New Zealand 249 to win and Steyn showed his ever-blossoming status as a feared seamer, as he and Makhaya Ntini each claimed a five-for to bowl the visitors out for 120. It was a crucial turning point as the home side went on to take a 2-0 triumph.


Versus West Indies: Centurion, April 2014

After South Africa posted a mammoth 552-5 declared, West Indies were under the cosh and made just 201 in reply with a frustrated Steyn finishing wicketless. But did you really think he would completely miss out on the fun? Steyn took 6-34 in a devastating spell in the Windies' second innings following on as the visitors succumbed to an innings and 220 run defeat in the first Test of a series they would lose 2-0.

The Test career of one of South Africa's greatest ever players is over after Dale Steyn decided to give up red-ball cricket on Monday.

Over the past 15 years, paceman Steyn has been one of the most feared bowlers in the longest format of the game.

Steyn retires after 93 Tests and as his country's all-time leading Test wicket-taker.

Injuries have plagued Steyn over the past few years but he remains one of the all-time great seamers and we have analysed his best numbers with the help of Opta.

439 – Steyn accumulated 439 Test wickets from his 93 matches, placing him at the top of the Proteas' all-time list. Shaun Pollock is next on the list with 421.

5th – The 36-year-old's return is the fifth most in Test cricket among seamers. It is also the eighth best overall.

7-51 – Steyn recorded his best-ever Test-match figures of 7-51 against India in 2010. It is the second best by a South African in the longest format.

26 – Many a side have crumbled against Steyn. On 26 occasions he has finished a Test match with a five-for.

22.95 – Steyn's average of 22.95 is better than the likes of James Anderson, Courtney Walsh and Wasim Akram.

0 – His last Test was against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth in February this year. Steyn failed to take a wicket across both innings, bowling 18 overs. 

South Africa great Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

The 36-year-old played 93 Tests for the Proteas, taking 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 to become his country's most potent bowler of all-time in cricket's longest format.

Steyn said he has taken the decision to prolong his career, with the paceman contracted to play white-ball cricket for South Africa for the 2019-2020 season.

"Today I walk away from a format of the game I love so much. In my opinion Test cricket is the best version of this game," he said via a Cricket South Africa news release.

"It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally. It's terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what's more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all.

"So, I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport.

"I'd like to thank everyone in cricket, no one specific, because everyone has been a part of my journey. And I look forward to continuing to play for the Proteas in the shorter formats."

Steyn etched his name into the record books by becoming South Africa's leading Test-wicket taker in December 2018 when he dismissed Fakhar Zaman to beat Shaun Pollock's previous best of 421.

He has 696 wickets across all formats for South Africa and took a career-best 7-51 against India in February 2010.

The retirement of Steyn places further strain on the Proteas' fast-bowling stocks, with the likes of Duanne Olivier, Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel having turned their back on South Africa to sign Kolpak deals in the County Championship.Cricket.

South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe paid tribute to Steyn.

"Dale is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of cricket. From the time he made his Test debut against England in 2004 and dismissed their captain, Michael Vaughan, with a superb delivery, he has been one of the standout fast bowlers in world cricket," he said."

He has led the South African attack brilliantly and set the standard for our future generations to follow.

"More than that he has been a wonderful mentor to our next generation of speedsters.

"We were saddened to hear of his decision, but it is one that management has to accept, and we thank him for his significant contribution to the sport and to the nation and wish him everything of the very best for the future."

 

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