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Steyn Gun: India bullet-proof?

It is always hard to compare eras but this India team facing Dale Steyn following a high after winning the Champions Trophy, could just be like the India team of 1983-84 facing the fury of Malcolm Marshall after their World Cup win.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2013 01:50 IST
Khurram Habib
Dale Steyn

It is always hard to compare eras but this India team facing Dale Steyn following a high after winning the Champions Trophy, could just be like the India team of 1983-84 facing the fury of Malcolm Marshall after their World Cup win. Or for that matter any team facing Marshall in that era.

That is, if you consider former South Africa opener and captain Kepler Wessels' views on the two pacemen.

Wessels, who played for Australia against Marshall in the early 1980s when his country of birth South Africa was isolated due to apartheid, says Steyn reminds him of the great West Indian fast bowler.

Marshall, with 376 Test wickets in 80-odd appearances, had instilled fear among the best in the world and Wessels too had a tough time facing him.

Similar to Denzil
"Dale Steyn and Malcolm Marshall are very similar. You have to be technically very tight and physically very brave. These are the two ingredients you needed against Marshall and you need the same against Steyn," said Wessels.

Steyn has had a demoralising effect on the young India batsmen's psyche. His first few overs, with both swing and pace, have pushed them on to the backfoot and they have never really recovered.

It showed again when the five players preparing only for the Tests spent a considerable amount of time facing throwdowns against short deliveries at the nets.

Steyn, it seems, has already marked out India's top two batsmen who have been scoring runs coming into this series.

While Virat Kohli was the quickest to get to 5000 runs in ODIs, Rohit Sharma became only the third batsman to score an ODI double ton.

Both had a torrid time against Steyn. Rohit could barely get bat to ball for the first 15 deliveries in the first ODI while Virat was shown on TV capsules applying ice pack to his ribs after being hit.

"Steyn has Marshall's pace, the same height and the same ability to swing the ball. So they are very similar," said Wessels, adding the Indian team needed time to adjust to the South African conditions, hinting at the fact that the visitors have looked underprepared.

"Both of them (bowlers and batsmen) haven't played much in South African conditions. You'll have to give a little bit of time to them to get used to.

"You'll only be able to judge their quality at the end of the Tests and how they perform there," he adds.

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