I have seen some comments made recently referring to Dale Steyn's average of 45 ish in the two match series against Pakistan in the UAE in 2010 as being some sort of black mark against his name which must be considered when discussing the merits of him as a bowler, especially considering the recent performance of some English bowlers in the same location. I hesitate to say same conditions for reasons which I will state now.
During that series Dale Steyn averaged 46.33. This has been mentioned as a failure against Pakistan/in the UAE. But is it really that or just due to some of the worst pitches (in terms of producing a competitive match, no other reason) I have seen in recent years.
Let's consider Steyn's away career average against Pakistan first up. At first glance it seems to be a disappointing 33.33 from 3 matches (overall vs Pakistan 30.89 from 5 matches), but if you remove these two test matches that average drops to 24.66 (Yes, I know that leaves a ridiculously small sample of 2 matches, but then when my question arises because people are criticizing Steyn for a lackluster performance in a two match series I think that statistic is still valid). (Steyn has played one match against Pakistan in SA with an average of 21.75).
Now let us considering the particular two series which have lead to me asking this question, specifically looking at the common factors in both series, i.e. the Pakistan bowlers namely, Rehman, Gul, Ajmal and Hafeez.
Rehman averaged 48.55 against SA and 16.73 against England, Gul averaged 85.50 against SA and 22.27 against England, Ajmal 65.66 and 14.70 and Hafeez 55.50 and 16.00.
I think (for me at least) two thing are clear from that:
1) All the Pakistan bowlers have significantly better averages in the England series
2) Dale Steyn averaged better than the four Pakistan bowlers who played in both series, in the SA vs Pakistan series (he did not average better than Tanvir Ahmed and Wahab Riaz, but Riaz only took two wickets)
My conclusion at least is that the pitches in that series were a disgrace if amongst such good bowlers on both sides, not one could average under 40 (again excluding Tanvir Ahmed and Riaz), and that that series cannot be held up as a serious failing on the part of Steyn or used in any meaningful comparison of the abilities of the current SA and England attacks considering the wildly different conditions faced by the bowlers.
My question is do others see it the same way, or do people really consider Pakistan 2010 as a black mark against Steyn's bowling record and something to be considered when discussing SA vs England as a bowling unit?
Look forward to reading everyone's replies.