Dale Steyn's rejuvenated and fiery return to the Castle Lager Proteas' ODI squad has highlighted the importance of the coaching staff's current player management programme with the speedster. Steyn, who was rested for the first two ODI's following the Test series against Pakistan, says the rest has helped him come back fresher and motivated for the series.
"I sat down with Doc (Moosajee) and Russell (Domingo) and we decided that I would miss the first two games all the way back during the series against Sri Lanka," he explained. "It was great to go home and to have a week off. I've come back feeling energised; every day that I was at home just felt like I was getting better and stronger and ready. By the time I got here I was bouncing, I just wanted to play."
The No.1 Test bowler's contribution in the shorter format is immense, even though he has only featured in a handful of matches this year, mostly due to injury. The 30 year-old forms part of an important cog of senior players in the young ODI squad, and re-affirmed his commitment to South Africa in the shorter format of the game, especially leading up to the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh early next year and the 50-over World Cup in 2015.
"It’s always nice to be back in this environment, win or lose I enjoy playing for South Africa in the shorter format," he said. "It’s not so taxing on the body, Test matches are really hard, but there is a lot of enjoyment when it comes to ODI's and T20's, it keeps me going.
"I want to play a lot of them (ODI's)," he continued. "I want to play all the T20's with the World Cup just around the corner. I want to be able to form part of this puzzle that makes up the Proteas cricket team, I want my piece solidly in there so people can learn to bowl around me and with each other. ODI cricket is about finding the right players that work at the right time."
His career-best figures of 5/25, which interestingly was only his second five-for in ODI's, propelled the Proteas to the 28-run victory in the fourth ODI on Friday evening, but Steyn was quick to praise the entire bowling attack for staying patient and building up the pressure which led to Pakistan's batting collapse. The bowlers have excelled in the series, even without Steyn's presence, and have managed to restrict Pakistan's line-up to average or below-average totals throughout the series.