Faf du Plessis says the Proteas are ready to take on New Zealand, who have a formidable record at home.
The Proteas dominated Sri Lanka in the Tests and ODIs, recording whitewashes against them in both formats.
New Zealand matched this and recently recorded home series whitewashes in all three formats against Bangladesh. They followed this by beating Australia 2-0 in a three-match ODI series.
Speaking to the media after their whitewash win against Sri Lanka at Centurion on Friday, Faf du Plessis conceded that New Zealand will be a sterner task.
‘New Zealand are a tougher challenge to Sri Lanka, who never posed much of a threat,’ said Du Plessis.
‘We’ve played really well every game and we’ve been consistent and that’s all you can ask for. We go to New Zealand very confident, knowing that they have a proud record themselves at home. It’s going to be a good series, they play really well in their home conditions.
‘For us, it’s about going there and understanding the conditions that we will play in,’ he continued.
‘Similarly, like when you go to England, the ball will swing a little more than in South Africa, so it’s about preparing for that and making sure that we are strong in our preparation. We are a team that prepares very well. So we need to get down to the basics and make sure we nail it before we start.’
The Proteas’ bowling attack struggled against Sri Lanka in an ODI series carried by the batsmen. This was largely due to SA who have struggled to find a third-seamer replacement for Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn.
‘It’s the only gap that’s available in our team. There’s an opportunity for someone to put up their hand to play that third-seamer role. The rest of our team is pretty established and doing well.’
Du Plessis went on to list possible replacements.
‘Morne Morkel is coming back. He’s been one of SA’s top bowlers over the years. I faced him in the nets the other day, and he was bowling beautifully. It will be great to have him back if everything is okay with his back.
‘There are a few guys in the bowling unit like Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell and Duanne Olivier all bowling really well, so there’s an opportunity for guys to put their hand up.’
SA will take on the Black Caps in a one-match T20 on the 17 February, before taking them on in a five-match ODI series and three-match Test series.
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