Cricket: South Africa's Steyn plays down 'silly' feud with Aussie skipper Clarke

South African bowler Dale Steyn (centre) and captain AB de Villiers (right) react after taking the wicket of Australian batsman Nathan Coulter-Nile (not pictured) during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match of the series between Austr
South African bowler Dale Steyn (centre) and captain AB de Villiers (right) react after taking the wicket of Australian batsman Nathan Coulter-Nile (not pictured) during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match of the series between Australia and South Africa in Perth on Nov 16, 2014. South African paceman Dale Steyn played down his rift with Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke on Tuesday, saying their supposed feud had been "a bit silly". -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - South African paceman Dale Steyn played down his rift with Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke on Tuesday, saying their supposed feud had been "a bit silly".

Clarke has been ruled out of the last three matches of the one-day series against the Proteas by a hamstring injury and Steyn said he wished the Australian a swift recovery.

The row started in March when Clarke sledged Steyn when the South African and team-mate Vernon Philander were batting to try, ultimately unsuccessfully, to save both the Cape Town Test and the series.

Clarke, who was fined for threatening England paceman James Anderson with a broken arm during the Brisbane Ashes Test at the end of last year, apologised in Cape Town for the sledge.

Steyn said after a triangular series in Zimbabwe later in the year, however, that he would not forgive the personal slight until Clarke shook him by the hand and apologised - comments he said had been blown out of all proportion.

"It's got nothing to do about, 'I'll see you in the car park and we'll beat the crap out of each other'," Steyn told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. "Maybe I just said too much in Zim. The issue with Michael Clarke got blown out completely, it was like two schoolgirls the way the media got hold of it."

Although Steyn said that he believed there was "a line" in sledging that should not be crossed, he was happy to put the disagreement with Clarke behind him.

"I didn't want it to start a massive thing. It did, it doesn't matter. He's not playing now. He's obviously injured. Hopefully he gets well," Steyn added.

"He's a great player and I think there's enough respect from both of us, we've played against each other for long enough now and it's just kind of got blown out of the water. It's a bit silly really in all honesty."

With the one-day series nicely poised at 1-1 after the first two matches in Perth, the tourists face Australia in the third match at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday.