Perth - The Proteas will lean on the confidence from their past successes as they prepare for the first Test against Australia starting at the WACA ground here on Thursday.
Fast bowler, Dale Steyn, who is one of four players in the current squad to have been part of the ‘double’ against Australia, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel being the others, says it’s ‘exciting’ to be back at a fortress that holds many fond memories for the team.
“Eight years ago we won here, a couple of years ago we won here again,” he said of the 2008 and 2012 successes in Perth. “It’s nice to come here with that feeling that you have done well here before, regardless of the pitch, whether it will be flying through or hitting the ankles, it doesn’t really matter. To walk into a venue where you feel comfortable is always exciting so we are really looking forward to it.
“I think the guys who are on their first Test tour of Australia are coming here with a good feeling because the other guys who have come here before have done well,” he said. “It’s not that feeling where in the past when we came here we had our tails between our legs, we are coming here with good history. The boys are comfortable and ready to go, we have been here for two weeks and are ready for the match to start.”
Steyn says they won’t be underestimating Australia following their hosts’ 3-0 loss to Sri Lanka and the Proteas’ 5-0 ODI win earlier this month, but he rather expects a competitive on-field battle played in the right spirit and above the line.
The Proteas may be missing their star batsman, AB de Villiers, but similar to 2008 and also a growing trend around the Proteas squads over the years, it creates an opportunity for a new-comer to make an impact on one of the toughest away series on the calendar.
“You are always going to have big players coming out of the team through injuries or new guys stepping in,” Steyn said in Perth on Sunday. “I remember when we came here eight years ago, Ashwell (Prince) was a major player for us and he broke his finger, JP (Duminy) stepped up and hit the winning runs in Perth and went on to score 170 in Melbourne.
“The culture in the side is that when a new player steps into the side you have them automatically being able to throw out those big scores or put out those big performances with the ball. That is what we are focused on, when you lose a player like AB (De Villiers) it is a massive loss, but that doesn’t matter, we are focused on the culture and how welcome we make players feel when they step into the side so that they can perform at their best.”
November 3-7: 1st Test, WACA Ground Perth
November 12-16: 2nd Test, Blundstone Arena Hobart
November 19-20: Two-day Tour match, MCG (Pink ball)
November 24-28: 3rd Test, Adelaide Oval (Pink ball))
Proteas Test squad:
Faf du Plessis (Titans, captain), Kyle Abbott (Warriors), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions), Quinton de Kock (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras)