The Proteas are looking to start their tour of Australia on a winning note when they take on a Prime Minister’s XI in a tour warm-up match at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday.
The match will be the Proteas’ only practice outing ahead of the first ODI against Australia in Perth on Sunday.
The Proteas have had close to a week’s worth of preparation time in Australia, with the warm-up match offering the players their first taste of action in the middle. It will also afford Proteas coach Ottis Gibson an opportunity to finalise his combinations for the tour-opener at the Optus Stadium.
‘We will be as close to full strength as possible,’ said Gibson in Canberra on Tuesday. ‘Most of the guys who will play in Perth are most likely to play tomorrow, barring injury. We have to see how everything shapes out tonight, and tomorrow we will put a good team out and try to start the tour off with a win.
‘We have had a couple of good days in Perth and we are looking forward to this game,’ he added. ‘It is our first actual match, the guys get tired of net sessions, so we want to get out in the middle.’
The Prime Minister’s XI will be coached by former Australian batsman Chris Rogers, and captained by former ODI and T20 captain, George Bailey, and includes a host of rising young Australian stars. The annual ceremonial match is a long-standing tradition in Australia – the first match was played in 1951, and will be attended by the incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
For the Proteas, the match signals the start of an important next phase of preparation, with a focus on mindset and smart execution.
‘We are halfway to our preparation for the World Cup, that is what we are focusing on,’ said Gibson. ‘This is the next step on that World Cup journey. We have been trying to play a certain brand of cricket, a little bit more positive and aggressive, and we would like to test that out.
‘The team that Australia has put out, despite what is going on off the field, we have to respect them, they still have quality players. This will be an opportunity for us to test ourselves against them and to see where we are.’
The match is scheduled to start at 4:50am SAST. The match will be broadcast live via Fox Cricket, ABC Grandstand and live-streamed by Cricket.com.au.
Proteas ODI squad
Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt)
Farhaan Behardien (Titans)
Quinton de Kock (Titans)
Reeza Hendricks (Lions)
Imran Tahir (Dolphins)
Heinrich Klaasen (Titans)
Aiden Markram (Titans)
David Miller (Dolphins)
Chris Morris (Titans)
Lungi Ngidi (Titans)
Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins)
Dwaine Pretorius (Lions)
Kagiso Rabada (Lions)
Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans)
Dale Steyn (Titans)
PROTEAS TOUR TO AUSTRALIA 2018
31 October: Prime Minister’s XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra (D/N)
4 November: First ODI, Perth (D/N)
9 November: Second ODI, Adelaide Oval (D/N)
11 November: Third ODI, Hobart (D/N)
14 November: T20 Tour match, Allan Border Field, Brisbane (Day)
17 November: T20 International, Gold Coast (Night)
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix