Proteas bracing for a hostile reception in Australia
The Proteas are bracing for a hostile reception in Australia when the two sides play in a limited overs series Down Under next month.
The South Africans flew out of the country on Tuesday afternoon to start preparations for the three ODIs and a once off T20 against the old foes and captain Faf du Plessis said they must be prepared to handle whatever the Aussies are going to throw at them.
“The last two tours against them home and away were very entertaining and I expect them to come at us‚ especially in the media space.
"But we see it as part and parcel of playing against them in Australia‚” said Du Plessis at his departure press conference at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.
Tensions between the Proteas and the Aussies were heightened earlier this year when skipper Steve Smith and opener David Warner were hit with 12-month bans while Camerom Bancroft received nine months for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the third Test at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town in March earlier this year.
“Australia is one of our favourite teams to play against‚" Du Plessis said.
"On and off the field I love what they bring and they bring the best out of us.
"I do think that this time around there may be one of two traps they have set us‚ but we are going there to play a good brand of cricket.”
As a result of fallout from the ball tempering scandal in Cape Town‚ Australia are going through a rebuilding phase where they are re-establishing themselves as a force in the world.
Du Plessis said they can’t afford to take them lightly.
“They are in this phase where they are trying to re-establish themselves as a top and competitive cricketing nation and for us it will be naïve to think that we are going there to play against a weak side‚" he said.
"They are a very strong team‚ they have a lot of match winners‚ they have good all-rounders and their balance has always been good.
"Australia is always not a good place to travel because their crowd do their part as the 12th man‚ so your mental capabilities and strength is important as your skills.”
The Proteas will be in Australia for less than a month for the three ODIs and one T20‚ and Du Plessis said a good start is vital in the short series.
“We are playing against an Australia side that is trying to prove to people that they are the team that they used to be‚" he said.
"They will be looking for a start that will give them confidence.
"Luckily we have enough time to get rid of the jet lag and get used to whatever we have to get used to in terms of conditions.
"A three-match series is very short and you blink and it’s over.
"So from our side it is to get a good start.”