Canterbury: South Africa paceman Dale Steyn, officially the world's best bowler, wants to scare the living daylights out of England when the sides clash in the first Test next week. "I'm trying to be the fastest bowler South Africa has when we walk out on to the field - that's my job," he said.
"I think there's times when I can bowl as quick as anybody in the world, but I just want to take wickets - and I want to scare the s(expletive) out of people." The first Test, which starts on Thursday at The Oval, pits England, ranked the world's top team, against South Africa, who are third in the standings behind Australia.
Steyn wants to overturn that current order and is ready to let the England batsmen have a double-barrelled assault - with the ball and the verbals. "I try and let the ball do most of the talking," he said. "However, I am a fast bowler and with that comes a responsibility of saying a word or two, and sometimes getting in a guy's face. It not only sends shivers down the opposition's spine but it also gets your team up and bouncing around. When a captain sees a bowler really getting at a batter, it forces the team to go along with him in the battle."
Steyn may be judged on how his wickets tally measures up to that of rival seamer James Anderson who broke his thumb with a fierce drive in the second Test four years ago. Steyn had earlier hit Anderson with a bouncer. "I remember hitting him on the head; I remember good things like that," he said. "He's a good bloke too, actually; he's not a bad guy. I honestly couldn't give ... anything about what Jimmy says to me," the 29-year-old thundered.
"I'm probably going to try and do exactly the same thing. Once I step over that white line I become the bowler. When I'm sitting down here I'm obviously another guy. I probably wouldn't be saying the same things if you did an interview with me out in the middle after I'd taken a wicket. There would be a couple more beeps in it. I think that's what happens when guys walk across the line - they become cricketers, warriors, fighters... then when they're sitting around the table they have to say the nicer things."