Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace maestro Dale Steyn believes that the Proteas have to target Australia captain Steven Smith if they are to get the better of the Baggy Greens in their upcoming Test series, which starts on Thursday.
With Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott making up the rest of the pace attack, Steyn is confident that South Africa have what it takes to emerge victorious in hostile territory.
“We’ve got one of the world’s best bowling line-ups so if we can do what we’ve done in the past there’s no reason we can’t knock over the top-order, middle order and tail,” Steyn said. “But Aussie captains lead the attack.
“You look at guys who are great players like Steve Waugh and not many people can name a team underneath him, but you remember Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. Steve Smith falls into that category.”
Steyn and Clarke have been involved in several memorable battles in the past, but while Smith has not had any run-ins with South Africa, the Proteas will have him in their sights throughout the three-Test series.
“The moment you can get hold of their captain, the rest of the players rely heavily on him,” Steyn said. “He leads the ship so if you pull the plug on that kind of ship when he’s holding it, there’s a way to sink it.”
With Rabada already having started the war of words in the lead-up to the series, Steyn admitted that he cannot wait to see how much damage the 21-year-old will inflict on the Baggy Greens in their own backyard.
“He brings a lot of heat. His record is pretty amazing for such a young guy, especially a fast bowler who tend to really come into their stripes at 26 or 27,” Steyn added. “I’ll fall back to the culture and environment in this team where he has got about 10 years’ worth of experience in three years.
“I’m excited to see what he can do because in Adelaide the other night he was bowling really quick and landing the ball exactly where he wanted to.”
Even though South Africa have tasted victory in their last two Test series in Australia, Steyn conceded that his side can’t afford to let their guard down, especially as they will be without captain AB de Villiers, who is recovering from elbow surgery.
“The guys that have never played any cricket here in Australia are coming here with a sense of good feeling because the guys that have been here have done well,” he said. “It’s not like the feeling in the past when we’ve been daunted with our tails between our legs.
“We are coming here with some good history so we are feeling ready to go. If we go fist to fist, let’s see who can fight the longest after three Test matches.”