Cape Town - The Proteas begin a bumper One-Day International (ODI) season when they take on Ireland in a one-off Momentum ODI at Sahara Park Willowmoore on Sunday.
The Proteas play 19 ODI’s in the next nine months, which will culminate in the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June 2017.
Proteas stand-in captain, Faf du Plessis, says the match will be the ideal transition into international cricket for the new faces in the squad with most of the players coming off the South African winter.
Although the selectors have yet to settle on a starting XI, the captain says the main priority is striking the perfect balance following the injuries to AB de Villiers and Chris Morris.
“Australia is the number one team in the world so they will be a different battle,” he said as the Proteas concluded their preparations in Benoni on Saturday. “
This match will be a great opportunity for the guys who haven’t played cricket in a while to get back into white ball cricket and to find their rhythm again, but it is no less important.
“We have the two young all-rounders who are coming into the squad,” he said further. “Andile (Phehlukwayo) and Dwaine (Pretorius) are two exciting prospects. We have always said that we need all-rounders to come through to make sure that the balance of the team is easier, it’s great to see that we have options.
Morris is a big loss for us, he has shown his capabilities in this format but it’s a nice opportunity for the two to put their hands up and to show that they are the all-rounders that this team can look at in the future.”
The match will be Du Plessis’s fourth as ODI captain, and along with 31 T20 Internationals and two Test captaincies, has shown the qualities and potential of being a significant part of the leadership structures in the future.
“Personally, captaining in the Test match was a great experience,” he said. “Captaining in Tests is the pinnacle and to get through that series with a much needed win, which we needed as a team, gives the captain confidence.
Particularly the things that went well and the plans that came through. I feel like I have grown into getting better every day, as captain you need to keep learning, you are never a finished article, but I really do enjoy it. I enjoy making sure that the team is going in the right direction and leading by example.
That brings the best out of me as a cricketer as well.”
The match will start at 10:00 and will be the first ODI where the new DRS playing conditions come into effect.