CAPE TOWN – Dale Steyn says it was an “easy decision” for him to choose the Titans as his nominated franchise for the 2017/18 season.
Steyn has been part of the Cape Cobras franchise for the past seven years, but as a Proteas-contracted player, he has to choose his team at the start of each season.
And on Friday, the Titans announced that Steyn was “going home” to Centurion, having first burst on to the scene there, having made his way through from Phalaborwa in Limpopo.
More importantly, though, Steyn said in a statement on Friday that he is “about two to three weeks away” from playing again following a long-term shoulder injury, which should mean that he would be able to get game time for Northerns in the Africa T20 Cup ahead of the Proteas Test series against Bangladesh, which starts on September 28 in Potchefstroom.
“If you look at any other domestic player that is about to start the season, I’d say I’m on the same level as they are right now. I’m probably two or three weeks away from playing my first game, which I am really excited about,” Steyn said.
“Once I walk into the team, my job will be to lead the attack; bowl fast and try and take wickets.
“The Titans are blessed with so many good players – and we (Proteas) hardly play many games for our domestic sides. But once I get up there, it will be nice to meet the new players and familiarise myself with them.”
The 34-year-old Steyn lives in Cape Town, but said that he is excited about working with former Proteas teammate Mark Boucher as the Titans coach, and being back in familiar surroundings at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
“It was an easy decision for me. The Titans laid down the platform for where I am now. I think the most important thing that I learnt at the Titans were the basics and it is something I still go back to every time I play international cricket,” he said.
“It is going to be fantastic working with him (Boucher) again. As a player, I looked up to him. He knows me so well, he knows me as a person and also knows about my bowling action, so I am looking forward to that, especially after this long delay with the broken shoulder.”
Boucher added: “It’s good for South African cricket – if you can face Dale Steyn at his best and see him through, it will give a lot of confidence to a couple of the domestic cricketers around the country.
“I want to get the best out of him, not only for himself but if Dale is playing good cricket, then South African cricket is in good a position.”
Cobras CEO Nabeal Dien wished Steyn well on his move. “We are sad to lose a man of his ilk, not only because of his presence on the field, but because of his ability to inspire many Cape Cobras’ players off it.
“His experience and presence were gifts to the Cobras’ dressing room when he represented the domestic team.
“In the 2014/2015 season, he was a part of the all-conquering team in the T20 Challenge final, and so mesmerising was his performance that he conceded only 11 runs in four overs in the final against the Knights as a capacity crowd at Newlands watched in awe.”