Stephen Cook says Australia’s bowling attack will be given due respect at the Waca.
While Mitchell Starc has been tipped as the home team’s danger-man, the Proteas’ batsmen will be preparing and making plans for the entire attack, which boasts skilled bowlers capable of making an impact on the day.
Cook and the newcomers in the line-up have tapped into the experience of the senior batsmen who have had success at the Waca in the past, and have adopted an ‘assess and adapt’ approach ahead of the series opener.
‘They are a world-class unit,’ he said of Australia’s attack. ‘They are going to challenge us in different ways, they have a lot of variation. They have left-arm pace in Starc, and in the ‘A’ series I faced Joe Mennie and he brings something different to the party. They are a well-varied attack and we are going to have to have all of our bases covered. We are under no illusions that they are a good unit, especially in their home conditions. We will be challenged but we are up for it.
‘Opening the batting in any country in any conditions is important,’ he stressed. ‘To follow in the footsteps of guys like Graeme [Smith], who obviously had a fantastic record, is a big responsibility. I have always been one to try to front up to the challenge and try to play my part in a team performance.
‘What holds me in good stead is that my home ground back home is the Wanderers. It’s probably the one ground in the world that is most similar to Perth in terms of pace and bounce. I will try and take a few of those lessons I have learned in my career playing over there and translate them into playing here.’
Cook scored a hundred on his debut against England at SuperSport Park in January, and although he has only played three Test matches, boasts an impressive CV of 16 years’ worth of first-class experience. Despite turning out low scores in the warm-up matches, the 33-year-old says he feels in decent form and will be starting the match with a fresh slate in a series he describes as the pinnacle of his young Test career.
‘It’s a lifelong dream,’ he said of playing Australia in Australia. ‘When I played my first Test I said it was the dream to play one Test. As cricketers, we are never satisfied if you get a taste of something you want more.
‘This is an iconic series, it’s been a series where a lot of players and team’s careers have been defined and therein lies a wonderful opportunity for the team and for me as an individual to make my stamp and put my mark on it.’