Dale Steyn during the warm-up at Centurion on Wednesday, before going on to break the Proteas wickets record. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

CENTURION – Former SA cricketer Shaun Pollock on Wednesday congratulated Dale Steyn on becoming South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.

Steyn claimed the wicket of Fakhar Zaman on day one of the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan in Centurion.

The strike moved Steyn’s Test wicket tally to 422.

Steyn entered the match against Pakistan at SuperSport Park on the verge of becoming the most successful South African Test bowler in his 89th Test.

He needed one wicket to go past Pollock’s record of 421 Test scalps, a record that has stood since 2008.

Steyn’s statistics across his 14-year career are astounding – he has played 88 matches compared to the 108 by Pollock, and boasts a remarkable strike-rate of 42 – the third-best of all bowlers in the world. 

“A heartfelt congratulations to Dale. He’s been a fantastic bowler for SA for so long. His performances both home and away have been remarkable in so many ways.

“The fact that he is the best Test fast bowler that SA has produced doesn’t require my endorsement as his stats and record tell you that,” said Pollock.

“He’s fully deserving of holding the record for most Test wickets, and I hope that he goes on to take many more and continues winning games for the Proteas.

“His injuries of late have been in stark contrast to how well he has managed his body and fitness throughout his career, and he has been a wonderful athlete.

“I have enjoyed so many attributes of Dale’s bowling through his international career – the ability to swing the ball at high speed upfront, reverse-swing the ball with devastating effect, bowl with great control and within himself, as well as being able to crank it up with high-speed hostile bowling on very flat surfaces at times – have all been his hallmarks.

“He has spearheaded the attack for many years, giving the team a lift when they needed it most.

“More importantly, he’s a great guy and deserves all the best.

“Fast-bowling has always been a characteristic strength of SA cricket, and records undoubtedly serve as motivation for our current and future stars.

“I look forward to seeing the hugely talented KG (Kagiso Rabada, already on 150), Lungi (Ngidi) and others going on to surpass these records, because ultimately that’s what we want for Proteas cricket.”

African News Agency (ANA)