Dale Steyn is relishing the prospect of playing at a venue which has provided the Proteas with so much success.
In preparation for the first Test against Australia in Perth on Thursday, he said: ‘It’s nice to come here with that feeling that you have done well here before.
‘Regardless of the pitch, whether it is 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.’
The Proteas have won the past two Tests at the Waca ground, and Steyn, along with Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel, were present at both.
Steyn is particularly comfortable in Australia, having taken 30 wickets in six matches, at an average of 28. Of those, 11 have come in Perth, for 274 runs.
He believes the confidence will rub off on the younger players, experiencing the iconic ground for the first time.
‘I think the guys who are on their first Test tour of Australia are coming here with a good feeling because we have done well before.’ he said. ‘ 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.’
The match also offers great opportunities to the younger players, he said.
‘You are always going to have big players coming out of the team through injuries or new guys stepping in,’ Steyn said. ‘I remember when we came here eight years ago, Ashwell [Prince] broke his finger, but 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 how welcome we make players feel when they step into the side so that they can perform at their best.”
Nonetheless, they will be guarding against any hint of complacency, even though Australia lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka and whitewashed 5-0 on their ODI tour of South Africa.
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