His rhythmic approach to the crease, a classical fast bowling action, aggression and his ability to exert late away swing at 140 km/h make him arguably the best fast bowler in the world.
Consistently dominating the number-1 test bowler’s spot on the ICC test rankings since 2008, Steyn is currently destined to become only the second South African fast bowler to reach the magical 400-wicket milestone for the Proteas test team.
He was lukewarm and inexperienced when he made his test debut against England in 2004/2005, and managed only eight scalps in his first three tests.
Steyn featured with his first five-wicket haul against New Zealand in April 2006, and also managed five for 82 in the disappointing South African away-series against Sri Lanka.
A more mature Steyn destroyed New Zealand in the 2007/2008-series in South Africa by taking 20 wickets as he bowled with ferociousness and aggression. He finished with a match-haul of ten for 91 in Centurion.
In 2008, Steyn became the fastest South African to reach 100 test wickets. He was named ICC test player of the year in September 2008 after nipping out 86 batsmen in 14 tests at an average of 18.10.
South Africa managed their first test series win Down Under in the 2008/2009-series.
Steyn’s contribution would go down in cricket folklore as legendary.
In the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground he scored 76 and finished with a match-haul of ten for 154 as South Africa secured a nine-wicket win.
A feature of Steyn’s play has been his ability to bamboozle the top- and middle-order with reverse swing. It was evident in the Nagpur-test against India when he took seven for 51 to set up an innings-win in the 2009/2010-series.
Steyn is currently second only to SF Barnes amongst test bowlers who have played in more than 20 tests in terms of strike-rate. (Barnes’ strike-rate is 41.6 and Steyn’s is 41.7).
The fast bowler became the fourth South African to take 300 test wickets after Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald. He clinched the 300th scalp by getting rid of James Franklin at Newlands in January 2013.
Considered by Donald, the SA bowling coach, as South Africa’s best bowler ever, Steyn has become the Protea spearhead in all three formats.
His remarkable last over when South Africa had to defend seven runs against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup match early in 2014, denied the Black Caps a win. Steyn took two wickets and the Kiwi’s scraped only four runs.
He captured four for 34 in the final of the triangular series in Zimbabwe against Australia as South Africa downed the Baggy Greens by six wickets in September 2014.
In the final of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge at Newlands on Friday 12th December, Steyn conceded only 11 runs in four miserly overs as the Nashua Cape Cobras romped to a 33-run win against the Chevrolet Knights at Newlands.