South Africa pace great Dale Steyn has claimed that cricket takes a back seat at the Indian Premier League, insisting that money is given more importance than the game in the lucrative T20 tournament.
Justifying his on-and-off IPL career, Steyn said this was one of the reasons he had not featured regularly in the world's biggest franchise-based T20 tournament.
'I think when you go to the IPL, there are such big squads and so many big names and so much emphasis on maybe the amount of money players earn and everything like that, so sometimes, somewhere down the line, cricket gets forgotten,' said Steyn, who was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in the last IPL held in the UAE.
In January this year, Steyn announced that he is opting out of the IPL 2021 but will play other leagues around the world. Steyn's decision influenced RCB to release him ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. Steyn has played 95 IPL matches, picking up 97 wickets with a best of 3 for 8. But the South African's repeated injury breakdowns didn't help his cause as he just featured in 12 IPL matches in the last three seasons. The South African fast bowler, who is representing Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League 6, said he took the break as he needed time off from the game and also because he found playing in other leagues around the world more rewarding as a player.
'When you come to like the PSL or the Sri Lankan Premier League, for that matter, there is an importance on cricket. I have only been here for a couple of days and I have had people in and out of my room, just wanting to know about where I have played and how I went about it,' Steyn said.
'Whereas, when I go to something like the IPL that gets forgotten and the main topic is how much money did you go for in this IPL? That's just me being brutally honest. I wanted to stay away from that and really put more emphasis on playing and bringing good vibes to good cricket teams and tournaments I feel are worth it,' he added.
Steyn has appeared at least in six IPL seasons for RCB, and erstwhile Deccan Chargers which has now been re-christened Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Steyn went for runs in his final over against Peshawar Zalmi the other day in Karachi in the PSL but said he was not too bothered about it.
'But it would have been nice to get over the line against Peshawar Zalmi. Played three, won one would have been really good for us,' he said.
'Hopefully we can make a comeback in the upcoming games.' Steyn also described big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle as 'a bit of a freak', who according tom him is 'God' of T20 format.
Gayle has left for national duty after playing just two games in the event for Quetta and has been replaced by South African Faf du Plessis.
'Chris Gayle is a bit of a freak, he is a T20 God. But when you look at his replacement and the guys we have got in the shed, they are incredible players.
'Faf du Plessis has flown in, Tom Banton has been around for the last two years and has done really well. I don't think that it comes down to one player to win you cricket games. Everybody has to pull their weight,' he said.