CANBERRA: African fast bowler Dale Steyn plays his 100th one-day international on Tuesday looking to regain top form despite being distracted by mountain fires raging near his home in Cape Town.
“Massive fire behind my house in Stonehurst! Plz be safe and watch out for the mountain animals trying to escape it, porcupines, tortoises.” Steyn tweeted.
Team-mate Faf du Plessis had the same worries too, tweeting “Crazy mountain fire near my new house. Hope they can stop the fire before it does more damage.”
Steyn was slated to address the pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Pool B match against Ireland at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, but was replaced by Farhaan Behardien at the last minute.
The 31-year-old Steyn, who was down with flu a few days before the start of the World Cup, has managed just one wicket in each of South Africa’s first three matches against Zimbabwe, India and the West Indies.
There are small pickings for one of the most destructive fast bowlers in the modern game and Steyn will be needed to be at his best if South Africa are to have a shot at their maiden World Cup title.
Behardien was confident the mountain fires were not going to stop either Steyn or du Plessis from celebrating the landmark one-dayer.
“Of course it does affect you in some sort of way, but we have quite a strong support structure around us, the people, the friends and the family that’s here,” Behardien said.
“If there’s any opportunity to help them out or comfort them, we will do so, but I don’t foresee it being a problem at all for both Dale and Faf.
“It’s just one of those things. But the World Cup is quite important, it’s actually very important.”
Steyn’s 100th one-dayer has come 10 years after his debut, indicating how he chose to pace himself in the shorter format to concentrate on Test cricket.
Behardien said he had faced Steyn in domestic matches but was glad that they were on the same side more often than not.
“It’s not fun facing Dale Steyn when he’s at full tilt,” the all-rounder said.
“We all know what a wonderful performer he’s been over the last 10 years, the number one Test bowler.
“The fire and energy he brings to the bowling unit is awesome. A hundred caps is a wonderful achievement. Something I aspire to do, something most cricketers aspire to do.
“One hundred caps playing for your country is a massively proud moment. We will try and celebrate his 100th game with a win. We will be fighting tooth and nail come tomorrow.”
Steyn made his Test debut in December 2004 and played his first one-dayer eight months later. He has claimed 396 wickets in 78 Tests and 154 wickets in 99 one-day internationals.