There is no place in the final XI set of SportsMax Ultimate XI T20 bowlers for a man who, at one time or another, was the world’s foremost T20 bowler after a panel of experts had to make tough choices to reduce a shortlist of the best in the format of all time.

A panel made up of cricket umpire Chris Taylor, former Australian cricketer and commentator Tom Moody, and regional commentator Vernon Springer, today on the SportsMax Zone, had to bring a not-so-short shortlist of 17 bowlers down to six for final discussion tomorrow where another panel will pick three for SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 team.

Samuel Badree will not be part of that discussion.

The team is picked through a combination of voting among fans, the panel, and the SportsMax Zone’s team.

Fans vote online, with their collective decision amounting to 35% of the vote, while the Zone team’s votes amount to 25%. The panel has the lion’s share of the percentage with their vote counting for 40%.

Today, the panel had to decide among a group made up of Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis; Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz; Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan; Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan; West Indies’ Sunil Narine, Badree, and Dwayne Bravo; South Africa’s Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn; India’s Jasprit Bumrah; along with Australia’s Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Starc, who would remain in the discussion for a second evening.

From that list, Afridi, Shakib, Umar, Saeed, Ajantha, Imran, Sohail, Badree, Nannes, Wahab, and Bravo, were all cut.

In the case of Bravo, the panel felt the all-rounder would be better suited as one of the Impact Players, a discussion that is to come down the line.

Badree, on the other hand, was seen as limited and not offering as much flexibility as would Rashid or Narine.

According to the panel, Taylor in particular, Badree is at his best when opening the bowling, while Narine and Rashid are useful throughout an innings.

The SportsMax Zone, in response, found no fault with the eventual six the panel came up with. The Zone and panel will discuss the merits and flaws of Malinga, Rashid, Narine, Steyn, Jasprit, and Starc before coming up with a final three.

While fans, call fanalysts, have not yet made up their mind on the three bowlers who would make up their Ultimate XI, there has been a trend that suggests their six for final discussion.

According to fans, Malinga, Narine, Jasprit, Rashid, Bravo, and Nannes would be the six they would have under consideration tomorrow.

Fanalysts can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

An aggressive fast bowler capable of bowling at speeds in excess of 150 km/h, South Africa’s Dale Steyn is capable of generating considerable swing and is usually chosen to bowl with the new ball to maximize these attributes.

These qualities have seen him take 256 T20 wickets and 64 for South Africa.

His best bowling of 4 for 9 came against the West Indies at Port Elizabeth in December 2007 in a match South Africa lost by five wickets.

 

Career Statistics (2005-present)

Full name: Dale Willem Steyn

Born: June 27, 1983, Phalaborwa (37)

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Botha XI, Cape Cobras, Cape Town Blitz, Deccan Chargers, Essex, Glamorgan, Gujarat Lions, Hampshire, Islamabad United, Jamaica Tallawahs, Melbourne Stars, Nelson Mandela Bay Stars, North Eastern Transvaal, Northerns, Proteas, Rest of South Africa, Royal Challengers Bangalore, South Africa A, South African Invitation XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Titans, Warwickshire

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

T20I Career

Mat      Inns     Balls      Runs      Wkts      BBI     BBM      Ave      Econ      SR       4w      5w       10w

47          47       1015      1175         64         4/9      4/9       18.35     6.94      15.8      2         0          0

 

T20 Career

Mat       Inns      Balls     Runs      Wkts      BBI       BBM      Ave      Econ      SR          4w     5w      10w

220        217       4883      5499       256        4/9        4/9       21.48     6.75      19.0         4        0          0

 

Career highlights

  • #1 wicket-taker for RSA in T20I, 64 in 47 matches at 18.35
  • 6th most wickets taken in T20 WC history, 30 in 23 at 19.30
  • 1 T20I four-wicket haul
  • 256 T20 wickets captured at 21.48
  • Featured in Wisden Cricketers of the Decade at the end of 2019
  • The seventh-best economy rate in IPL history of 6.72

At the height of his career, Dale Steyn was perhaps South Africa's best-ever bowler. His extreme pace, the ability to swing the ball both ways, and accuracy made him the bane of the world’s batsmen.

He played just seven first-class matches before he was selected for South Africa and made his debut against England in 2004.

He did not have an immediate impact, but after honing his craft playing for Essex in Division 2 of the county championship and the 2005-06 domestic season, he returned a different beast.

He took 16 wickets in his second series against New Zealand but when he faced them the following season, the summer of 2007-08, he announced himself as one of the fierce fast men.

Steyn took 10 wickets in the first Test in Johannesburg. Then, shortly after lunch on the first day of the second Test in Centurion, he delivered a short ball to Craig Cumming, who missed. The ball crashed into his face and sent him to intensive care.

The flow of wickets became a gush, and in 2008, he became the fastest South African at the time, and the 15th fastest overall, to reach 100 Test wickets. That September, Steyn was named ICC Test Player of the Year after taking 86 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 18.10.

He went on to win the Test championship with the team in England in 2012 and took his 300th Test wicket the following year against New Zealand. He was only the fourth South African to rack up that many scalps. 

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Dale Willem Steyn

Born: June 27, 1983, Phalaborwa

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Botha XI, Cape Cobras, Cape Town Blitz, Deccan Chargers, Essex, Glamorgan, Gujarat Lions, Hampshire, Islamabad United, Jamaica Tallawahs, Melbourne Stars, Nelson Mandela Bay Stars, North Eastern Transvaal, Northerns, Proteas, Rest of South Africa, Royal Challengers Bangalore, South Africa A, South African Invitation XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Titans, Warwickshire

Playing role: Bowler

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: South Africa (2004-2019)

Mat    Inns    Balls       Runs      Wkts     BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ      SR     4w     5w     10w

93      171     18608     10077    439       7/51   11/60   22.95   3.24     42.3   27      26       5 

 Career Highlights

  • Best strike rate of any bowler over 300 Test wickets (42.3)
  • 8 times selected to ICC Test Team of the Year
  • Took 439 wickets at 22.95
  • 9th most 5-wicket hauls in Tests (26)

There have been some wonderful pace bowlers over the years in all forms of cricket. With the bent toward the batsman in the shorter forms of the game, some of the figures of even the best pacers have looked a little worse for wear. With that said, just as we did with batsmen, SportsMax.tv chose to look at the best bowlers to play the five-day game, as running in over after over throughout a day of cricket only to come back to do it again tomorrow might be a smidge more difficult than 10-over or four-over spells at maximum.

Finding an XI from the rich history of fast bowling Test cricket has to offer was no easy feat and I’m sure we missed names that you would have undoubtedly picked, but here goes ...

 

BestXI

 

Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)

Standing at 5 feet, 11 inches, you wouldn’t think Malcolm Marshall the type of bowler who could scare world-class attacks, but he did. Marshall was regarded as the finest pace bowler to come from the West Indies, a region known for producing some of the best quicks ever to play the game. Marshall had an open run-up that should have made him less accurate but it, instead, gave him the ability to swing the ball either way with very little difference in his action. His technique also generated remarkable pace and had a very deceptive, very cruel bouncer. England’s Mike Gatting remembers that bouncer better than most after Marshall flattened his nose bridge in a match at Sabina Park. Marshall would rachet up 376 Test wickets in just 81 Tests at the remarkable average of 20.94, which represents one of the best of all time. Marshall’s 376 wickets also came at a time when all four West Indies fast bowlers were wicket-takers, making his haul even more of a prize.

 

Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)

When Curtly Ambrose walked away from International cricket there was not a soul who thought he didn’t have much more in the tank. A quiet giant, Ambrose bowled at a menacing length, too full to go back to and too short to play forward to. The master at putting the ball in that corridor of uncertainty, he would get wickets regularly by constantly getting the ball to jag bag at batsmen before making one hold its line. His yorker, from his great height, was nothing to sniff at either. Ambrose’s best of 8-45 is something that is still talked about today, though his 405 wickets in 98 Tests at an average of 20.99 will not soon be forgotten either. Ambrose would take five wickets in an innings 22 times, and 10 in a match on three occasions.

 

Michael Holding (West Indies)

The nickname “Whispering Death” speaks volumes about the man known as the Rolls Royce of fast bowling. An over to Geoff Boycott, the belligerent England opener, best describes what Holding was like at his absolute best. Boycott was bowled in the over and did not feel hard done because, as he has admitted, he had no answer to the lanky Jamaican. Holding is the textbook of fast bowling, from the first step to his leap and then to delivery, there has not been a smoother bowler in the history of the game. He was an artist and made fast bowling a beautiful thing to watch unless you were at the end of one of his 249 wickets. Holding only played 60 Tests and also fell victim to a four-pronged West Indies pace attack which would quickly ensure he had nobody to bowl at. But for those who did have to face him, they will not soon forget how the silky smoothness of his run-up and delivery would be shattered by genuine pace, accuracy and guile. In his book, ‘No Holding Back’, Mikey talks about how he gave up pace for accuracy but found, funnily enough, that once he had mastered being accurate, his pace had ratcheted up again, at least in the minds of the batsmen he faced.

 

Glen McGrath (Australia)

Anybody who calls Glen McGrath the best fast bowler of all time, cannot be argued with. The right-arm fast-medium by the time he ended his career had the ability to pitch the ball wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted and made all the great batsmen of his era have to admit, he was the most difficult customer they would encounter throughout their respective careers. McGrath is famous for being the man to have gotten the prize wicket of Brian Lara, arguably the best batsman of all time, the most in his career. To be fair, Lara average 51 against Australia, so that battle was fairly even. Still, McGrath’s mammoth 563 wickets from 124 Tests at an average of 21.64 speaks for itself. There were 29 occasions when McGrath would hold the ball aloft for earning five wickets and he, like Ambrose got 10 wickets in a match on three occasions. McGrath’s best bowling figures, 8-24, featured a spell of fast bowling that might never be matched.

Dennis Lillee (Australia)

Dennis Lillee, in partnership with tear-away fast bowler, Jeff Thomson, can be blamed for the rise of the fearsome four-pronged attack of the West Indies in the 1980s. It was afterall, after a crushing 5-1 defeat in Australia that regularly featured Lillee and Thomson decimations, that the Caribbean side turned to all-pace attacks. Lillee, though not as fast as Thomson, was the class of the pair, grabbing 355 wickets in just 73 Tests. Lillee was a complete bowler. When he debuted in 1971 he was frighteningly quick, but a spinal stress fracture threatened to end his career. Years later, a slowed Lillee was still outwitting batsmen with almost monotonous regularity. So much so, that there are many who consider him and not Marshall, the greatest of all time.

 

Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)

There are no superlative too good for the man who perfected swing bowling at high pace. Hadlee troubled every opponent on every kind of pitch. Hadlee almost singlehandedly lifted New Zealand cricket to unprecedented heights and along the way becoming the first bowler to notch 400 wickets in Test cricket. He, like Lillee, started as a tearaway quick, preferring to bludgeon his opponents into submission with searing bouncers. But Hadlee was a quick study and shortened his run-up while developing the attributes of the model fast bowler. His whippy action was a concern for most batsmen and when that was combined with pace, bounce and movement. When Hadlee retired in 1990, so effective was he, that he took a wicket with the last ball of his career. He would end with 431 wickets in just 86 Tests at an average of 22.29.

 

Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

Wasim Akram is likely the best left-arm pace bowler of all time. Blessed with an economical action, Akram was deceptively quick and would make batsmen used to playing against the most express of fast bowlers, still look hurried. Called the Sultan of Swing, Akram was also brilliant at producing seam movement. The two combined, produced a bowler who was always dangerous. Akram was also never the same bowler to the same batsmen when they met again in another series. Something would change, he would develop something until it came to a point where the Pakistani, who kept a strict fitness regime, could pitch four balls in the same spot and get something different to happen to it. A nightmare for anticipating, and so he had to be played off the pitch. But he was quick, and sometimes, 414 times to be exact, it was too late to adjust. Akram’s 414 wickets came in 104 Tests at an average of 23.62.

 

Imran Khan (Pakistan)

If ever Akram could claim a father figure, it was Imran Khan. The Pakistani captain is undoubtedly the finest cricketer the country has ever produced, averaging 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball over the last 10 years of his career. Khan led his country into the modern era of cricket, teaching the value of professionalism, as well as the importance of getting the public’s support. Under Imran, Pakistan became a real force, but as just a pure bowler, his figures of 362 wickets in 88 Tests was remarkable. His average of 22.81 was as brilliant as his reverse swinging yorker.

 

Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Steyn is the best quick in modern-day cricket. The South African has the best strike rate of all time. In 93 Tests, Steyn has 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 and was the world’s number-one fast bowler for a record of 263 weeks, a little more than five years. While those figures are scary, they aren’t as frightening as his extreme pace, combined with the ability to swing the ball both ways and accuracy to boot. Persistent injuries have curtailed the bowler's appearances for the Proteas over the last few years but he is always a welcome addition, especially with the likes of the talented Kagiso Rabada waiting in the wings to learn from his experience.

 

Mitchell Johnson (Australia)

Australia have, like the West Indies, consistently produced great fast bowlers and the two countries could, together, fill a list of the bestXI on their own without too many arguments. One of the best of those is Mitchell Johnson. In just 73 Tests, Johnson has taken 313 wickets and while he needs to bring down his average of 28.4 a little, he is still quite brilliant. Johnson has had his issues, having horrendous lows to go along with incredible highs. It is only now that he is beginning to be the fast bowler Dennis Lillee said he could. Late swing at pace is his major weapon, but he has now also included interesting angles that put batsmen in trouble.

Waqar Younis (Pakistan)

The longtime saying, last but not least, certainly applies to Waqar Younis. Half of the pairing with Wasim Akram, Waqar would bulldoze his way through opposition batsmen, while his partner in crime was the scalpel creating neat, tidy incisions.

The two Ws were undoubtedly one of the most effective fast bowling duos in cricket history. Waqar would take 373 wickets in 87 Tests from that partnership, relying on late swing and real pace for the most part. His execution of late reverse swing meant batsmen even muffed chances to score off bad deliveries, making him, with his slingy action, more economical than one would expect. Waqar was a problem for all the greats who bat against him from his debut in 1989 until his retirement in 2003. His strike rate was the best of all time until Dale Steyn’s arrival in Test cricket.

Dale Steyn has been included in South Africa's Twenty20 International squad to face England and Quinton de Kock will captain the side in the three-match series.

Steyn has not played for the Proteas since last March, but the paceman is set to return against Eoin Morgan's side.

De Kock was named as permanent ODI skipper ahead of the ongoing series with England and will also lead his country in the shortest format, as Faf du Plessis has been granted an extended period of rest.

Kagiso Rabada has also been given extra time off after being rested for the ODI series, which South Africa lead 1-0 with one match to play at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Uncapped batsman Pite van Biljon and seamer Sisanda Magala were included in the squad for a T20 series that gets under way with a day-night contest at Buffalo Park, East London next Wednesday.

Magala's participation is dependent on him passing a fitness test. 

Cricket South Africa acting director of cricket Graeme Smith said: "We are pleased with the group that we have selected for this upcoming T20 series against England.

"We have once again taken the opportunity to reward some of the hard workers of our domestic franchise system while some of our key senior players continue with their much-needed rest period and we have again, put our faith in Quinton to lead this group of exciting cricketers, picking up where he left off in India where he showed exemplary leadership."

He added: "With a T20 World Cup not too far away, we have begun the process of identifying several players whom we will be looking at over a period of time and hope that by the time September comes along, we will have the best possible squad of 15 representing South Africa."

 

South Africa squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, JJ Smuts, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

The Melbourne Stars avenged their 2019 Big Bash final defeat to the Melbourne Renegades with a thumping victory at the MCG that was inspired by a moment of magic in the field.

An eight-wicket trouncing in front of a crowd of 54,478 on Saturday reflected the changing fortunes of these teams since they met at nearby Docklands Stadium in the title match 11 months ago.

Michael Klinger's Renegades have gone into reverse gear this season and this was a sixth straight defeat for the defending champions, who are proving to be a shadow of the side led by Andrew McDonald last season.

The Stars have soared to the top of the table with five wins in six games for David Hussey's side, who scythed down the Renegades from 117-2 to their eventual 142-9 total.

Shaun Marsh and Beau Webster looked like lifting the Renegades to a substantial total as their third-wicket partnership reached 62.

Yet Marsh's dismissal for 43 to a brilliant boundary catch, Ben Dunk tossing the ball back to Nathan Coulter-Nile, off Sandeep Lamichhane's leg spin triggered a collapse, with Dan Christian stumped for a golden duck and Webster also soon back in the dressing room.

Marcus Stoinis anchored the Stars response with an unbeaten 68 from the top of the order to becoming the leading scorer in the competition, with skipper Glenn Maxwell plundering a snappy 40 not out as the Renegades attack sorely lacked bite.

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