David Warner has responded to Dale Steyn’s comments that he will be targeting Australia’s leadership in Perth.
Australia aren’t shy to back away from a few verbals, but Warner has refused to get involved in the mind games, after Steyn suggested at ‘cutting off the heads’ of the opposition by targeting the leadership.
‘If you can cut off the head of the snake, the rest of the body tends to fall,’ Steyn said at the series launch in Perth.
‘There’s 11 players in the team and if Dale wants to play that game then he can do that,’ Warner responded frankly at a press conference on Tuesday. ‘I don’t see that happening; that’s just fast-bowler talk. We’ll continue to play positive cricket. Hopefully they’ll get carried away and bowl short. You can only get 20 wickets by bowling at the stumps.’
Warner also sent a word of warning to the Proteas about two aspects of the game going into Thursday’s opener: The threat of Mitchell Starc, and the state of the pitch in Perth, which he believes is ‘the scariest on the calendar’.
‘If you ask any player who’s played the game, playing in Perth is the scariest on the calendar,’ he said. ‘Starc is ready to go. He’s been shaping the ball nicely, he’s going to be scary to face in Perth. Luckily I haven’t needed to face too much of him in the nets because we’ve been in two different groups.’
Warner also shed some light on the sledging tactics used on their tour of South Africa back in 2014, of which several Proteas players, including Steyn, have revealed went too far. It remains to be seen whether the hosts will employ the same tactics in this series.
‘We had a great bowling attack back then and we had players who verbally showed their presence on the field. South Africa had a fantastic lineup so we had to have a presence in their own backyard. There was something about the Australian cricket team. We had to fight.’