South African pace spearhead Dale Steyn has upped the ante in psychological warfare with Australia prior to their home Test series suggesting uncapped opener Phillip Hughes would be under pressure to fill in the boots of Matthew Hayden.
The super-fast Steyn,South Africa’s leading wicket-taker last year,said Hughes would be subjected to a similar kind of pressure to which David Warner went through when he replaced Hayden at the top of the batting order in one-dayers.
“We don’t need to put pressure on him (Hughes),” said Steyn,who took 18 wickets in the Test series Down Under that South Africa won 2-1.
“I think trying to replace Matthew Hayden and fill those massive shoes will place enough weight on his shoulders. I wish him the best for his career,and obviously if Australia believe he is good enough to play international cricket,then he has our respect.
“But I guess we’ll find out what he is made of in the next month or so. I will not be going out there trying to break him down verbally. We’ll just stick to our gameplans,like we did with Dave Warner,and try and apply pressure that way,” he told ‘Cricinfo’.
Steyn said South Africa did not feel good sending Hayden into retirement after the former left-handed opener managed just 117 runs at an average of 19.50 in three Tests.
“It’s not nice to force anyone into retirement. I’m sure Hayden would have loved to go onto the Ashes,and I think the Australians will really miss him at the top of their order.
“But what was fantastic for us was the ability to get players of his calibre out with good gameplans. We save Hayden and Hussey as key players for them,and they were never able to get on top of us in that series,” said Steyn.