Melbourne, October 9: Dale Steyn hopes a stint with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League can boost his chances of representing South Africa at next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.
Veteran paceman Steyn missed the 2019 Cricket World Cup due to a shoulder injury and announced his retirement from Tests in August.
With the Proteas taking on England in four Tests across December and January, the 36-year-old has been granted leave for the Stars' first six games – the last of which is the derby with Melbourne Renegades at the MCG on January 4.
That is exactly one month before the white-ball leg of England's tour to South Africa, and Steyn hopes the BBL experience will help him achieve his ultimate goal of representing his country.
"This is the first year where the cricket schedule gives me the opportunity to come down and enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer," said Steyn.
"Having watched closely from afar, the BBL is a top tournament which has a great reputation overseas. I love cricket and want to make a difference in any team that I am playing for. I have had time to get fit and have been bowling for two months now. I can't wait to get over there and get going.
"Obviously the first prize is always to play for your country. Representing South Africa is the only thing I've ever done for my whole career so far, so to get back into that team is prize number one.
"They're pretty tight on not allowing players to go and play in the Big Bash, but knowing that I'm not available for the Tests, wanting to keep me fit, and also having one eye on the Twenty20 World Cup at the backend of next year, they probably felt like it was a good call.
"Which is great because it keeps me in the running for that World Cup. If I can go over to Australia and get some more experience in those conditions, that could be beneficial."