With only 10 ODI matches left before South Africa start their World Cup campaign, the five-match series against Australia will provide a good litmus test.
‘It’s always important to test yourself against the top teams in the world to see where you are as a cricket team,’ coach, Russell Domingo said on Tuesday after the Proteas’ training session in Perth.
‘They have come off a good series win in the one-dayers against Pakistan so we know they have been playing consistently in this format, it is set up to be a good series.
Domingo said that this is a key tour in the Proteas preparation ahead the global showpiece in February.
‘We want to tick all the boxes that we still have questions about,’ he stressed. ‘We also want to finalise our pattern of play going into these conditions and to also make sure we get used to the conditions that we could be faced with. We had some experience in the T20’s so hopefully we can learn some tips in the ODI series.’
The coach says the balance of the team will need some re-thinking following the withdrawal, due to injury, of JP Duminy. It will provide opportunities for fringe players like Rilee Rossouw and Farhaan Behardien to seal a spot in the World Cup squad.
‘He is a big player to be missing out,’ Domingo said of Duminy. ‘He is a quality batsman and handy spinner. He has played as a specialist spinner in some one-day games and tests so it does affect the balance of the team a little bit. We need to get our head around how we are going to fulfil that role in the next few matches.’
The Proteas expect another aggressive and fiery contest against Australia, but remain focused on playing their brand of cricket, which has brought success for the squad in the last 18 months.
‘We expect the Australians to play a hard brand of cricket, that’s the way they play their cricket and it’s not something we are too concerned about,’ Domingo said. ‘We want to focus on how we carry ourselves and how we conduct ourselves on the field; we will try and do that in the best way possible. How Australia go about their business is their issue, it’s not something that we are focusing on.’