Will fans honour Dale Steyn?
Harare –South Africa’s pace spearhead, Dale Steyn, is widely regarded as the best bowler in the world and one of the greatest of all-time and soon he will know if the fans believe he is their choice for the best cricketer on the globe this year.
The 31-year-old Phalaborwa Express is in the running for the fifth International Cricket Council LG People’s Choice Award for 2014 and will battle England’s women cricket skipper, Charlotte Edwards, Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, Indian pacer Bhunveshwar Kumar and Sri Lanka sipper Angelo Matthews.
Cricket fans around the world have been voting for their Cricketer of the Year either via the LG website or the Twitter handle #lgiccawards and votes closed on October 30 with the winner of the prestigious award set to be named in Dubai on November 5.
“The support of the fans is vital for the game and particularly valued by the players – hence, the significance of the LG People’s Choice award,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement.
“The overwhelming number of cricket fans who participate to select the winner of this award has made it one of the most prestigious awards in the ICC calendar.
“None of the deserving nominees have won this award before and this year’s fan favourite will join the exclusive company of previous winners, Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Kumar Sangakkara (2011 and 2012) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2013).”
Steyn is the number one ranked Test bowler in world cricket, has the best bowling strike rate of all-time in Test cricket (among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 10 000 deliveries), was one of the 2013 Wisden Cricketers of the Year and was named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World last year.
He has been on the international scene for the last decade, consistently keeping himself among the best bowlers in the world, and six years ago he rocketed to the very top, in the globe, when he captured 78 Test wickets, at an average of 16.24, and was named the 2008 ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.
Steyn showed the world that he was still a master pace spearhead during the Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle this year when, bowling on a flat pitch, he somehow generated life from the surface as he took 9-99 in what has been hailed as one of the greatest performances in the history of the game.
He also grabbed eight wickets, including 5-46 in the first innings, in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club.
“The short-list was nominated by an elite panel of cricket experts, which is headed by ICC Cricket Committee Chairman and former India captain Anil Kumble,” the ICC said in their statement.
“Other members of the panel are Jonathan Agnew, a former England international and now a respected broadcaster/journalist, ex-Sri Lanka opener Russel Arnold (also a broadcaster/journalist), former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, and Betty Timmer, former Chair of the ICC Women’s Committee.
“The five players were selected by the panel using the criteria set out by LG and the ICC, which required that the nominees have displayed attributes regarded by LG as being in line with its corporate qualities, such as innovation, dynamism, strength in decision-making, performing well under pressure and executing a plan to distinction.
“The winner, as well as the ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year and the short-list for the remaining LG ICC Awards 2014 will be announced on Wednesday 5 November 2014 at a press conference at the ICC Headquarters in Dubai.”
Blogger Ahman Saleem of the Express Tribune believes Steyn is one of the greatest fast bowlers ever, in the same bracket as the great Wasim Akram and Malcolm Marshall.
“He gets the ball to reverse as late as the laws of physics allow, thanks to his fiery pace, which leaves the batsman with literally no choice,” he argued.
“All these attributes come together to make what he is today: the most complete fast bowler of our generation, and, dare I say, the most complete fast bowler since Wasim Akram and Malcolm Marshall in the history of the game.”