Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
Interim head coach Malibongwe Maketa says the Proteas have been acclimatising well to conditions in Brisbane following their arrival in the Australian city over the weekend.
South Africa will play three Test matches against the hosts starting on 17 December, with the tour kicking off with a four-day warm-up fixture versus a Cricket Australia XI starting on Friday.
“It won’t be a first-class game so it will work in our favour that we can hopefully give all our batters a chance to bat and our bowlers we can monitor them because we’ve gone hard for the first three days that we’ve been here,” Maketa told the media on Tuesday.
“It is important for us. Luckily some of our guys are coming off some big performances back home but getting here and being exposed to the wickets means this game is very crucial for each and every one of us from that point of view.”
Maketa also spoke about how he and captain Dean Elgar have been working together since his appointment to the role on a short-term contract for the tour.
“It is quite exciting to get the opportunity to work with Dean,” he explained. “I have worked with him, obviously not in the same capacity, and our relationship is strong. And it’s really based on hard work so we’re quite similar in a sense in terms of what we’re looking for in terms of the team and the performance itself.
“Like I said when I joined the team, I’m here to support Dean in every way. So it has been a nice start to our journey so far.”
Maketa is also widely seen as a calm-natured coach and he was asked about this approach to the way he coaches.
“I’d like to think that (I am that type of a coach),” was his response to the question. “For me the most important thing is knowing that the only way I can impact the game is through preparation.
“I know the guys are not liking me in the sense that I’ve put them through some really tough sessions. Once the game starts, I hand over and the biggest thing then is how we support the players as a coaching staff and consistently asking ourselves questions on how we can turn the game around or how can we stay ahead in the game, giving that information to the players and Dean and making sure we support them.”
South Africa will go into the series currently ranked second on the ICC World Test Championship table and they will be hoping for some good results in order to maintain their hopes of reaching the Test final in London next June. It will be the first time the Proteas play red-ball cricket since their 2-1 series defeat during a tour to England earlier this year.
They are also playing in a country where they have a strong history of challenging the hosts in the five-day game and Maketa says he expects things to be no different this time.
“History tells us there is drama when these two teams meet,” he adds. “But for us mentally it’s all about cricket and what is required for us to come here and win. That’s been the driving force for us, whatever comes up we’ve got enough personnel and support for team to make sure we deal with whatever we might encounter.”
Proteas Test squad against Australia
Dean Elgar (captain, Momentum Multiply Titans), Temba Bavuma (DP World Lions), Gerald Coetzee (ITEC Knights), Theunis de Bruyn (Momentum Multiply Titans), Sarel Erwee (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Simon Harmer (Momentum Multiply Titans), Marco Jansen (Dafabet Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Dafabet Warriors), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rassie van der Dussen (DP World Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicketkeeper, Six Gun Grill Western Province), Lizaad Williams (Momentum Multiply Titans), Khaya Zondo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins).
South Africa Test Tour to Australia Itinerary
Four-day Tour Match
09 – 12 December
Cricket Australia XI vs South Africa – The Allan Border Field, Brisbane
17 – 21 December
Australia vs South Africa – The Gabba, Brisbane
26 – 30 December
Australia vs South Africa – MCG, Melbourne
04 – 08 January
Australia vs South Africa – SCG, Sydney