South Africa pace great Dale Steyn gave a detailed justification behind opting out of this year’s Indian Premier League as he believes that money is given more importance than the game and cricket take a back seat at the lucrative T20 tournament. Steyn further added that playing in other T20 leagues is way ‘more rewarding as a player’. The Proteas pace machine is currently in Karachi as a part of the Quetta Gladiators squad for the Pakistan Super League (PSL).Also Read - IPL 2022, KKR vs LSG, Live Cricket Score: de Kock Scores 100 As Lucknow Eye 200

Justifying his on-and-off IPL career, the 37-year-old Steyn said this was one of the reasons he had not featured regularly in the world’s biggest franchise-based T20 tournament. He said the big squads and ‘so many big names’ at the IPL take the attention away from the cricket as more emphasis is given on the amount of money players earn. Also Read - IPL 2022: Umran Malik Breaks Jaspirt Bumrah's Record, Becomes Youngest Indian To Reach This Milestone

“I think when you go to the IPL, there are such big squads and so many big names and so much emphasis on maybe the amount of money players earn and everything like that, so sometimes, somewhere down the line, cricket gets forgotten,” said Steyn, who was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in the last IPL held in the UAE. Also Read - IPL 2022: Kolkata Will Struggle To Find The Right Combination After Ajinkya Rahane's Injury Reckons Aakash Chopra

“I have found that playing in other leagues was slightly more rewarding as a player,” Steyn told YouTube channel Cricket Pakistan.

In January this year, Steyn announced that he is opting out of the IPL 2021 but will play other leagues around the world. Steyn’s decision influenced RCB to release him ahead of the IPL 2021 auction.

Steyn said he took the break as he needed time off from the game and also because he found playing in other leagues around the world more rewarding as a player.

“When you come to (a tournament) like PSL or Sri Lankan Premier League, there really is an importance on the cricket. I have only been here for a couple of days and I have had people in and out of my room just wanting to know about where I have played and how I went about it,” Steyn said.

The Phalaborwa-born Steyn has played 95 IPL matches, picking up 97 wickets with a best of 3 for 8. But the South African’s repeated injury breakdowns didn’t help his cause as he just featured in 12 IPL matches in the last three seasons.

Steyn has appeared at least in six IPL seasons for RCB, and erstwhile Deccan Chargers which has now been re-christened Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Steyn also described big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle as ‘a bit of a freak’, who according tom him is “God” of T20 format.

Gayle has left for national duty after playing just two games in the event for Quetta and has been replaced by South African Faf du Plessis. “Chris Gayle is a bit of a freak, he is a T20 God. But when you look at his replacement and the guys we have got in the shed, they are incredible players.

“Faf du Plessis has flown in, Tom Banton has been around for the last two years and has done really well. I don’t think that it comes down to one player to win you cricket games. Everybody has to pull their weight,” he said.