Dale Steyn makes himself unavailable for IPL 2021

South Africa

The South Africa pacer emphasised that he wasn’t retiring though

South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has announced that he will not be playing in the 2021 edition of the IPL, through a tweet that said he was making himself “unavailable” for his current franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore this year.

Steyn indicated that he was taking some time off during that period, and in a follow-up tweet said that he would continue to play in other leagues, “nicely spaced out” to allow him to pursue other things. At the end of both tweets, the 37-year-old said he was not retiring.

Steyn is currently in his second extended spell with the Royal Challengers, the franchise with whom he had begun his IPL career in 2008. Having come in as an injury replacement for Nathan Coulter-Nile midway through the 2019 edition, Steyn was then picked again in the auction ahead of the 2020 season. He played three matches for the Royal Challengers in the delayed IPL season, and took one wicket.

That auction happened a few months after Steyn had retired from Test cricket, in August 2019. In 2020, having missed out on a central contract with South Africa, Steyn was picked in their T20I team and made it clear he would be looking to play in the T20 World Cup that year. This was shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the World Cup was called off.

Steyn’s insistence that he won’t be retiring could suggest that he could now be targeting the 2021 edition of the same tournament.

“As long as that drive is there to still play at the highest level, and get batters out and fox them and outsmart them and all that kind of stuff, if I can do that, I am going to continue to do that. And then once I can’t do that anymore, well once I decide that I don’t want to do it anymore, then I’ll be done,” Steyn had said in February last year.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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