CAPE TOWN - South African bowling supremo Dale Steyn has paid tribute Steve Smith for his impeccable consistency in Test cricket and is confident that opener David Warner will be back to his best during the upcoming home season.
Smith had an incredible Ashes series in England, crossing 50 six times in seven innings, while aggregating 774 runs at a staggering average of 110.57.
His career average catapulted to 64.56 and he surpassed India captain Virat Kohli as the top-ranked batsman in the ICC Test Batting Rankings in the process.
Steyn, who has recently signed up by Melbourne Stars for the upcoming Big Bash League in Australia, was all praise for the right-hander.
"Steve has come … and with his technique that he's naturally developed, he's just confusing bowlers left, right and centre," Steyn said.
"I think he's a marvellous player. He's wonderful, he's got a great eye and a very difficult and weird technique to work out, which is working for him beautifully.”
Steyn accounted for Smith only once in seven Test innings, dismissing him for zero in Port Elizabeth in 2014 – the latter's only golden duck in 124 innings so far.
The veteran, who finished as South Africa's leading wicket-taker in Tests (439) is relieved that he no longer faces the challenge of bowling to the modern-day great in the longest format.
"They literally don't know where to bowl to this guy," said Steyn. "And while they're trying to work that out, he's clubbing them all over the place and scoring runs at the same time.
"He's just in a league of his own right now and I'm very happy that I don't have to play Test matches against him ever again.”
Steyn, who boasted a strike-rate of 42.3 in the longest format – the best among bowlers with a minimum of 200 scalps, spoke of the difficulties of bowling against batsmen having unorthodox techniques.
"When I bowled to batters like Michael Vaughan or Jacques Kallis who were classical, technically perfect, sound batters, I always found that I could get them out," he said.
"It was only the weird guys that came around, like Shiv Chanderpaul and Steve Smith, they really confuse you about the line you should be bowling. Whether that should be on the stumps or outside the stumps.”
While Smith had a phenomenal time with the bat in England, Warner struggled throughout the series, managing only 95 runs from 10 innings.
Steyn however, is confident that his former IPL skipper will come good in the upcoming home season.
"He's one of the best batters I've ever bowled to," Steyn said. "He puts you under pressure from ball one on the first day of a Test match.
"You have to take what he can give you with what can happen. In this case, he's been found wanting around the wicket against someone like Broady (Stuart Broad) attacking that off-stump. Sometimes that can happen.
"But he'll get to Australia, he'll find some form, he'll be playing around his mates and around his home crowd and that can quickly change for him.
"World-class players don't become rubbish overnight, especially over one tour. He'll be fine, I wouldn't drop him at all. I'd leave it as it is."