Dale Steyn is enjoying a reunion of sorts in his return to the Proteas dressing room for the T20I series against England. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Dale Steyn is enjoying a reunion of sorts in his return to the Proteas dressing room for the T20I series against England.

Although the veteran fast bowler will be surrounded by fresh and eager faces looking to make their mark in international cricket, the 36-year-old will certainly not feel isolated.

His former hunting partners when South African cricket was still in its pomp not so long ago are all now in charge of the Proteas with former captain Graeme Smith the acting director of cricket and Mark Boucher the new coach.

Jacques Kallis has also been installed as the batting coach.

“I actually can't remember the last time I played a game for South Africa‚ so its really good to be back‚” Steyn said ahead of the first T20I against England at Buffalo Park on Wednesday.

“It's a great set-up‚ I played a lot of cricket with Mark (Boucher) throughout my career and obviously played for the Titans with him as coach.

“So it's nice to be back with him around‚ as well as Jacques (Kallis) and Graeme (Smith) running the show‚ it's just great to walk into the dressing room with familiar faces that I played a lot of cricket with.”

Boucher will expect Steyn to play a leading role on the field though, where the fast bowler will form a key group of senior players led by new captain Quinton de Kock.

It was not so long ago that Steyn was still fooling around with De Kock as the junior member of the Proteas side, but the wicket-keeper/batsman is now an integral part of all the Proteas plans.

Steyn acknowledged as much, and knows that for the Proteas to do well in the build-up to the the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia, it is the likes of De Kock and fellow senior batsman David Miller that needs to lead the way.

“In this series I think we have to play smart‚ the senior guys will need to step up‚ Quinny (Quinton de Kock) has been phenomenal throughout the Test series and ODI's and I think he will lead this team again with bat and captaincy. David Miller‚ we saw in the last ODI what he is capable of too," Steyn said.

However, having played with and against many of the new faces such as Sisanda Magala and Bjorn Fortuin in the Mzansi Super League, Steyn is excited by what the youngsters can bring to the table.

"This is a young group of players and my role is to orchestrate the bowling attack a little bit," Steyn said.

"I want to stand at mid-off and say to the bowler, ‘what are you thinking?’ and hopefully they can learn and get better.

"The young guys‚ just the unknown‚ they need to hit hard‚ they need to capitalize and use that to their advantage," he said.

“England won't know a lot of the guys‚ know what they are capable of and will be wary to that extent‚ so that's what it is going to take and also a bit of smart cricket and luck at the end of the day too.”

Full Proteas T20 squad

Quinton de Kock (capt & wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

Proteas T20 schedule:

1st T20I - Wed 12 Feb,18:00 - Buffalo Park, East London

2nd T20I - Fri 14 Feb, 18:00 -  Kingsmead, Durban

3rd T20I - Sun 16 Feb,14:30 - SuperSport Park, Centurion


IOL Sport