Rassie van der Dussen has defended the Proteas’ batting lineup ahead of their warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Brisbane starting on Friday.
The three-Test series against Australia comes on the back of a 2-1 defeat to England in August and September where the South African batsmen struggled in difficult conditions.
However, the one victory against the English still ensured that they remained in the hunt to challenge for a place in the World Test Championship final to be played in London next year.
“People have been critical of our batting unit in the past two years, but if you look at the conditions we’ve had to bat in during that period, it’s really been tough,” Van der Dussen said.
“The numbers tell that story where the guys are averaging in the 30s whereas in other countries they are averaging in the 50s and 60s and then people compare the two without looking at that point without taking conditions into account.
“We are sitting second in the World Test Championship at the moment and that tells you the cricket we’ve been playing has been good enough to put us there. So I’m not concerned and I’m looking forward to playing in Australia.
“Hopefully the pitches play well and it will be a good battle between bat and ball. The prep that we’ve put in over the past week and what we will put in over the next four days will be enough to be ready for that first Test.”
The 33-year-old was injured during the series, breaking his left index finger while fielding during the second Test meaning he missed subsequent tours to India and the T20 World Cup.
He also spoke about the squad chosen for the current tour, saying they are being groomed well in South Africa’s domestic structures.
“The squad and the make-up of the squad, especially batters, it’s guys who have been in the domestic structures for a very long time. I know that our first-class structure in South Africa is tough.
“It’s tough cricket, it’s difficult and to spend 10-odd years in that structure you do develop as a player both in terms of your game and also mentally. If you look at the make-up of our batting in the squad, there are guys who are resilient, there are guys who know their game and have been around the block in terms of first-class cricket and the key for us will be to transfer that into Test level.
“A lot of the guys have had Test experience before, some less than others, but they’ve had that taste so it’s going to be important to transfer those skills built up over the past 10-15 years into the team here.”
Van der Dussen also spoke about his injury recovery, telling the media on Thursday that he was fit and raring to go.
“It has been going well. I’ve been batting now for the better part of a month-and-a-half, so there are no difficulties there.
“The finger’s holding up pretty well, we’re managing it with fielding, but as far as batting goes it doesn’t really affect me and it’s back to full health. I got some game-time in the middle playing for the Lions in two matches.
“It was good time on the feet to get back into it and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. This week’s prep has been pretty good so I’m feeling good.”