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Dale Steyn retires from Test cricket with immediate effect
Steyn Bids Farewell

Dale Steyn retires from Test cricket with immediate effect

Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from Test cricket on Monday, calling time on an illustrious career in the conventional five-day format.

Steyn finishes with 439 wickets, the most by any South African bowler and the eighth leading wicket-taker overall, in 93 Test matches at an astonishing average of 22.95.

The 36-year-old has made himself available for selection in the shorter formats of the game for the Proteas.

"Today I walk away from a format of the game I love so much," he said.

"In my opinion Test cricket is the best version of this game. It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally. It's terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what's more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all."

"So I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport."

Steyn made his international debut 15 years ago against England and immediately made an impact in the world of cricket owing to his unique whippy action that generates deceptive pace.

The South African speedster goes down in history as one of the greatest match-winners with his consistent performances resulting in a win for his team 48 times.

Steyn's attacking bowling was menacing to face on pitches conducive to fast bowling - the factor behind South Africa's dominance in Australia and England where they won consecutive series with Steyn spearheading the line-up.

He was also part of the Graeme Smith-led Proteas side that perched at the top of the ICC Test rankings in 2012.

Although not known for his hit-and-miss batting skills, Steyn dug deep to conjure an innings of a lifetime in the Melbourne Test against Australia in 2008 where he registered his career-best score of 76. The same match also saw Steyn acquire a riveting ten-wicket haul to help his team clinch a series down under for the first time.

'Best' strike rate in the game

Nimble-footed and agile, Steyn possessed the ability to clock speeds close to the 150 kph mark and boasted an intimidating outswinger frequently bamboozling batsmen.

Never too shy of employing short deliveries, he was also an accomplished exponent of reverse swing making him a dangerous bowler to face with both the new and the old ball.

Steyn achieved 26 five-wicket hauls throughout his career, managing to register this feat against every Test nation he played.

Even in Asian conditions which traditionally offer more to spinners relative to pacers, Steyn has a stunning record as he averages a shade over 24 with 92 scalps to his name in 22 games.

The prodigious rate at which he picked up wickets speaks volumes of his caliber since he has the best strike rate for any fast bowler with more than 200 wickets.

A strike rate of 42.3 maintained over a 93-Test career affords the 'Steyn Gun' a special place in history.

Steyn's playing career was beset by injury woes in the latter part of his career, taking a hit at his longevity and endurance in the longest form of the game.

He could have probably ended with a wickets tally close to 500, but fitness concerns kept him out of the cricket action and he was forced to be sidelined from the national side for eight months in 2015 right after taking his 400th wicket.

Steyn's brief return to Tests could last for just three games when a dislocated shoulder forced him to withdraw from international cricket for over a year.

In 2018, he was struck by another heel injury while taking part in the home series against India.

The same year, he also equaled Shaun Pollock's record of 421 Test wickets during his side's tour to Sri Lanka.

He later went past his bowling idol in December when he got Fakhar Zaman out in Centurion.

The steaming sprint to the bowling crease and trademark animated celebrations returned to the fore as Steyn participated in all of South Africa's five Tests during the 2018/2019 season.

He was then selected for his team's 15-member squad for the World Cup but a shoulder injury right at the cusp of the tournament meant the 36-year-old had to go home without playing a single game.