Today it’s “stumps” on the usual one-on-one interviews of In The Oval as I have got a Dale Steyn story to share from my “net diaries”.
This is part of my efforts to have the South African great bowler to be a guest on this one-on-one section that has featured Sikandar Raza, Carl Mumba, Kuda Munyede, Chris Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa, Neville Madziva and John Nyumbu to date.
When Steyn tweeted “Watching highlights of our one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Harare. Brings back some great memories, my family are all originally from Zim, so I’ve always had a soft spot for them in cricket, wished we could have toured there more often. Special times special times, special place,” on June 9 I saw it as an opportunity to invite the great fast bowler for a one-on-one that would ever make me proud, so I replied on his tweet.
“Would you love to talk more about that on my one-on-one called In The Oval . . . Sunday Mail Onlie, a weekly publication in Zimbabwe? Howzaat!!”
The reply has got a few likes including one of my favourite writers, Liam Brickhill, but none from Steyn.
This has inspired me to employ my “never give-up attitude”, all in the hope of earning the much yearned for Steyn interview.
This writer has been a net bowler for Zimbabwe for some time and it has been a priviledge to practice with the country’s and visiting team’s best players.
My love for cricket has earned me 17 List A games which have yielded 30 wickets at 22.06 from my left arm seam-bowling. I am dying to get a First Class cap before I can pursue the obvious big dream of playing for Zimbabwe.
So it was at the nets that Dale Steyn shocked many youngsters, including me, when South Africa toured Zimbabwe for that one-off Test in August 2014 Steyn tweeted about.
Excitement of rubbing shoulders with the South African team gripped our group of net-bowlers way before the visitors arrived in the country and when they finally did it was euphoria.
After a short and sharp net session, most if not all, of the South Africa team members left for the changing room, but Steyn stayed behind.
With a lingering smile, Steyn answered all the questions thrown at him by the eager net-bowlers who wanted as much info as they could draw from the great cricketer.
“It’s amazing how you are so fearsome on the field, but pretty relaxed off it, to be honest we thought you would never have time for us,” confessed one of the dozens of the net-bowlers gathered around Steyn.
“No, I am just human like you, obviously when I cross the rope I want to win for my country so I give it my all, that’s why you see all that passion,” replied Steyn.
“Tell us how much fitness work you put in,” another question was fired.
“I run maybe two or three days a week and in the gym I rarely go heavy and I do quick reps, you know for the fast twitch muscles.”
For almost a quarter of an hour, Steyn was entertaining questions from the net-bowlers until the questions dried.
Interestingly, he made sure no-one was left with a burning question before he cheerfully bid adieu to the group. The impression he left still lingers.
One of my best buddies, Kuda Chirume always refers to Dale Steyn’s work ethic as his inspiration.
“Mate, don’t be lazy. You think Dale Steyn got to where he is by being lazy.”
Chirume has arguably become one of the fittest players in the Zimbabwe domestic league, most of the national team players who have done the yoyo test with him will concur.
How I wish I can talk more (with Dale Steyn obviously) about that South Africa visit of 2014 which also had the Aussies for a tri-angular series.
Next on my Net Diaries I have a Mitchell Johnson story to share.