10 April 2014
South African fast bowler Dale Steyn has been named the leading cricketer in the world for 2013 in the Wisden Cricketers Almanack. Founded in 1864 and published annually ever since, the Almanack is regarded as the bible of cricket.
Editor Lawrance Booth wrote in his citation: “South African fast bowler Dale Steyn is Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for 2013, a year in which he took 51 test wickets in only nine games at an average of 17. Steyn was scarcely less lethal in one-day internationals, claiming 27 at under 16.
“Most remarkable, perhaps, for a man of his pace, was his meanness: an economy- rate of 3.65 was comfortably the lowest among bowlers to have sent down 100 one-day international overs in 2013. Fast, penetrative and parsimonious – it was some combination,” Booth wrote.
“He shows no signs of slowing down or losing his enthusiasm. ‘I enjoy taking wickets more than most people can understand,’ he says. ‘I’m addicted to that feeling. I live in the moment, but I hope there are many more years of it to come.’
“Steyn is the second South African to be selected as Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World, after Jacques Kallis in 2007. In 2013 he was selected as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.”
‘A singular and great honour’
Cricket South Africa (CSA) congratulated Steyn on the achievement, with CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat saying in a statement: “This is a singular and great honour for Dale, who has deservedly won just about every accolade available to him in the sport of cricket.
“The whole of South Africa can be proud of what he has achieved today as Wisden’s leading cricketer, and the humility he shows is perfect for the world’s youth,” Lorgat said.
“Other than for a brief period earlier this year when he was overtaken by his colleague, Vernon Philander, he has been the world’s leading Test match bowler for the past five years and has been an obvious choice in the ICC select Test XI.
Lorgat also spoke about Steyn’s versatility, saying: “His selection in the two limited overs formats for the Proteas has been constrained by his large work load, but he showed during the recent ICC World Twenty20 that he is invaluable to the Proteas in these formats as well.
“His epic last over against New Zealand was the making of legends.
“Wisden has become known as the ‘cricketer’s bible’ – and with good reason. It has certainly stood the test of time in the world of cricket,” Lorgat said. “The fact that Jacques Kallis is the only other South African to have received this prestigious recognition speaks volumes for Dale Steyn’s international standing.
“This is indeed an achievement for all South Africans to celebrate.”
6 for 8
Among Steyn’s achievements in 2013 was arguably his most devastating spell of bowling in a distinguished career when he captured 6 for 8 against Pakistan at The Wanderers in February. He finished a match haul of 11 for 60.
Since making his test debut in December 2004, Steyn has played in 72 tests, capturing 362 wickets at an average of 23.01. While that record is excellent, his most outstanding statistic is that of strike rate, with the Proteas’ spearhead capturing a wicket every 42.1 balls.
Only four bowlers in history enjoy a better rate. Three of them played between 1886 and 1914, when pitches were far less friendly to batsmen and bowlers were dominant, while the fourth bowler, Shane Bond of New Zealand, played as recently as 2009, but appeared in only 18 tests, taking 87 wickets.