After becoming the joint-second fastest player to 400 Test wickets in July 2015, the 35-year-old only limped to Shaun Pollock’s South African record of 421 last month.
Steyn will have to wait until South Africa’s next Test against Pakistan in December to finally break the record, which the bowler called a ‘burden’ after years of anticipation.
Instead, Steyn revealed that despite his age and recurring injury troubles, it’s the 500-wicket mark which he is most interested in surpassing.
“I hope it just gets out of the way and we can just carry on. Because there’s more wickets in me than 421,” Steyn told Reuters on Tuesday.
“I have got 500-plus on the horizon so I don’t know why we are so consumed on one number.
“When I am bowling it’s like ‘you’re gonna get there, you’re gonna get there’. I know I am, but I’m not interested in getting there.”
Steyn has only played three Tests since November 2016, when he broke a bone in his shoulder bowing against Australia.
He required a pin to be inserted into his shoulder and 13 months recovery, before returning in January against India, only for a muscle in his heel to separate from the bone.
Six months passed before Steyn made another return in July, playing in South Africa’s first series loss to Sri Lanka since 2006.
He took just two wickets at 89.50 for the series, which was only enough to equal Pollock’s record.
The wickets made him the joint-tenth greatest Test wicket taker of all time, claiming his 421 wickets at 22.64 in 88 matches.
Only six players have ever broken the 500 barrier; Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Glenn McGrath, James Anderson and Courtney Walsh.
Despite struggles with the ball in his most recent Test series, Steyn said he’s pleased to have completed the matches without injury, and is now ready to continue playing without any retirement plans in sight.
“I probably just got through the hardest Test of my career and I’m absolutely fine. That’s a plus in my book. I am pretty pleased with that,” he said.
“I walked away from both of those Test matches not leaving the field once or having any problems. So the cloud of injury is, in my opinion, now gone.”
Steyn has taken on average 30 wickets a year, meaning at his current rate, he won’t take 500 wickets until early 2021 – when he is 37-years-old. (Fox Sports)