Australia’s upcoming tour of South Africa should provide the usual fireworks once again but it will be cynical to underestimate the visitors in both the T20I and ODI series, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
A lot has changed since Australia last toured to South African shores and they are a completely different outfit to the one overshadowed by the sandpaper saga in 2018.
They currently occupy second spot in the ICC T20 rankings, while they are fifth in the ODI standings.
We take a look at three Australian players the Proteas should be wary of:
Similar to last year’s Ashes series in England, Warner will arrive in South Africa as the biggest villain and the local crowds will surely remind him of that. But, it’s the sort of motivation that ignites the fire and will in this ultimate competitor. The opening batsman already showed in last year’s World Cup that he’s put the past behind him to let his bat to the talking – he finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the competition in England. Warner has a brilliant record against South Africa and will definitely be taking the attack to the likes of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, with whom he’s had a disputed rivalry over the last few years.
The other villain in the ball-tampering drama of 2018. Like Warner, Smith has also proved he has moved past the incident. Recently he’s been taking the cricketing world by storm, especially in the Test format. But Smith’s talented and unorthodox approach to his batting technique makes him a dangerous player in any format under any conditions. He likes to score quickly but doesn’t mind to take his time settling at the crease, which means the South African bowlers will need to add a lot of variety to their plan to get him out.
Arguably Australia’s best and most consistent player over the last two years. Cummins has developed into an incredible cricketer and has been handed the responsibility of vice-captain of the ODI team. He was unfortunate to miss out on the Allan Border Medal for the Australian cricket player of the year recently, but has a tremendous work rate that has highly impressed coach Justin Langer. Cummins’ ability to deliver with the ball at any given time of a match is a real advantage to the Australian team. He is currently the No 1 Test bowler in the world and completes a quality Australian bowling attack, which could cause the Proteas batsmen problems in the two series.
Australia T20I squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (v-c), Pat Cummins (v-c), Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Australia’s tour of South Africa
1st T20 International: 22 February, Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
2nd T20 International: 23 February, St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
3rd T20 International: 27 February, Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1st One-day International: 29 February, Boland Park, Paarl
2nd One-day International: 4 March, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
3rd One-day International: 7 March, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom.
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