Steyn can still improve: Barnes
Despite a successful domestic season and an impressive return to the Test match arena, South Africa’s assistant coach Vincent Barnes insists fast bowler Dale Steyn is by no means the finished article.
After being dropped from the national team following an unsuccessful series against England in 2005, the opening bowler quickly set about working on his game and has gone some way to proving his critics wrong.
The youngster claimed 69 wickets for domestic club Nashua Titans, falling just short of Cricket South Africa’s Professional manager Vintcent Van der Bijl’s long standing record of 75 wickets for Natal in the 1981-82 season.
However, despite claiming his first five-wicket haul for his country against New Zealand at Centurion Park back in April, Barnes warns that the right-armer still has work to do.
He said: "Dale is still young. Like many bowlers who have the ability to bowl away-swing, he regularly tries to plant the ball on middle and leg with the aim of hitting the off-stump.
"As most swing bowlers have realised, this does not happen very often and the batsmen will regularly hit the ball through midwicket for a boundary.
"We've worked hard to rid him of this temptation."
Steyn has provided South Africa team-mate Makhaya Ntini with a bowling partner capable of attacking batsmen and the 22-year-old looks set to play a key role for the Proteas for years to come.
And Barnes believes that fellow strike bowler Ntini should take some credit for Steyn’s upturn in fortunes.
Barnes added: "When a bowler at one end places so much pressure on the batsmen, it's always easier for the bowler at the other end to be successful."
Steyn will be tested on the subcontinent in July when the Proteas head for a tour of Sri Lanka, followed by the ICC Champions Trophy in India in September.