- Dale Steyn has paid a glowing tribute to former teammate and captain AB de Villiers
- De Villiers and Steyn made their Test debuts together in 2004
- Steyn said AB’s greatness rubbed off on the entire team
Dale Steyn has paid a glowing tribute to his former teammate and captain AB de Villiers. Steyn said de Villiers was a genius and served as an inspiration to all of the players in the Proteas side. Steyn and de Villiers made their Test debuts together against England in Port Elizabeth in 2004.
Steyn did not mince his words when he spoke about the impact de Villiers’ retirement would have on the national side.
The legendary fast bowler said de Villiers had an influence on the entire team, even without him trying to do so.
“When you are in the company of greatness, there is only one thing to do: to raise your game. I actually sent him a message and said to him, I don’t think I would be half as good as people think I am if it wasn’t for him being in the team. Without him even knowing, he made more than half the players in our team excellent players,” Steyn said.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Steyn said de Villiers was hugely inspirational as a captain although he had a completely different manner of leading than Graeme Smith.
SAcricketmag.com reports that Steyn revealed that while de Villiers was leading the side his cricketing abilities always overshadowed his leadership ability.
Steyn said de Villiers would often challenge him in front of the entire team and the point of that challenge was to extract the best out of him not to get a reaction or make Steyn look bad.
He said during de Villiers’ captaincy players in the Proteas side challenged themselves to always perform better and better.
AB set only one standard for his players, added Steyn: “That you give your best and you pay attention all the time. He would say: keep your eye on the ball and me. If you make a mistake, then it is fine. But if you make a mistake while not paying attention, while not being at full intensity, while not watching your captain, then that was inexcusable.”
Steyn said contrary to popular belief most bowlers would probably mourn the loss of de Villiers. He explained that top international bowlers enjoyed pitting their skills against the best in the world and that was, according to Steyn, what de Villiers represented.
Steyn said you get great and then a step above that you have AB de Villiers.
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