Dale Steyn will return to the Multiply Titans, where he started his professional career in 2003-04, for the 2017-18 domestic season, thus ending a seven-year association with Cape Cobras.
A day after Steyn hinted on Instagram that he could soon be back in action after being sidelined by a shoulder injury for nine months, a media release from Titans on Friday (August 18) confirmed the switch.
“It was a great place to start playing cricket and it’s going to be a great place to go back to,” Steyn said. “It was an easy decision for me. The luxury of playing for South Africa is that you get to nominate which franchise you want to play for.
“The Titans laid down the platform for where I am now. I think the most important thing that I learnt at the Titans was the basics and it is something I still go back to every time I play international cricket.”
Steyn, who is just four wickets away from Shaun Pollock’s haul of 421 scalps to become the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in Test cricket, sustained a shoulder injury during the first Test against Australia in November last year.
The last time he played a Test in South Africa was against New Zealand in August 2016, where he took 8-99 in the second and the last Test of the series, enabling South Africa to secure a 1-0 series win at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Steyn said he was excited to return to the venue and revealed he would be completely fit in two or three weeks.
“I played some of my best cricket at SuperSport Park,” said Steyn. “When you go into that change room and you look at those honours boards, you’ll see my name a couple of times on the five-wicket haul list. I walk in there and I feel at home. I am really looking forward to going back.”
“If you look at any other domestic player that is about to start the season, I’d say I’m on the same level as they are right now. I’m probably two or three weeks away from playing my first game, which I am really excited about. Once I walk into the team my job will be to lead the attack; bowl fast and try and take wickets.
“The Titans are blessed with so many good players – and we hardly play many games for our domestic sides but once I get up there it will be nice to meet the new players and familiarize myself with them.”
Steyn was happy to team up with Mark Boucher, his former teammate and current Titans head coach.
“It is going to be fantastic working with him again,” said Steyn. “As a player, I looked up to him. He knows me so well, he knows me as a person and also knows about my bowling action, so I am looking forward to that, especially after this long delay with the broken shoulder.”
Boucher, meanwhile, said that Steyn’s association will not only help the speedster, but also be a boost to the the youngsters of the team.
“If we can give him an opportunity to showcase his skill and hopefully try work his way back into the Protea side then that will be great,” Boucher said.
“The experience he’ll bring to the side will provide the youngsters with the opportunity to learn from him. It’s good for South African cricket – if you can face Dale Steyn at his best and see him through it will give a lot of confidence to a couple of the domestic cricketers around the country.
“I want to get the best out of him, not only for himself but if Dale is playing good cricket then South African cricket is in good a position.”
South Africa’s next series is against Bangladesh at home, consisting of two Tests, three One-Day Internationals and a T20 International, with the first Test starting on September 28.