Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, was hopeful that his team would be able to utilise the upcoming Twenty20 International series against Australia to gain some much-needed momentum and kickstart a successful summer campaign.
South Africa are in Australia for three T20Is, followed by a five-match One-Day International series in November, that will be an important part of the team’s preparation for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Domingo acknowledged the importance of momentum and the need to create a winning habit early on in the tour. “It’s all about momentum,” said Domingo on Friday (October 31). “If we can get some good results under our belts in the T20 campaign, we can take a lot of confidence into the one-day series.”
Domingo said that it was all the more important to win and have the advantage early as allowing Australia to gain momentum could be dangerous. “Australia are always a great team, a great team when they’re ahead, difficult to catch,” he pointed out. “So whatever momentum we can get from the T20 series to carry into the one-day series, I think, is going to be very important. But also a couple of fringe players in the one-day side haven’t had a lot of game time, guys like Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren. It’s important to get some game time before the one-day series starts.”
Meanwhile, JP Duminy, who was appointed captain for the T20Is against Australia with Faf du Plessis rested, said he was excited about captaining the side for the first time.
It was in Australia that Duminy broke into international prominence, back in 2008, when, as a debutant, he led South Africa to a historic Test series win on the back of a 166 in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Duminy finished with an average of 61.5 as South Africa won a series in Australia for the first time, while also ending their 16-year unbeaten streak at home.
“I’ve got some great memories playing over here in Australia,” said Duminy. “It will be hard to match that. It was really a purple patch for me.”
Duminy challenged his young squad to force selectors into a rethink ahead of the ODI and the World Cup. “There’s quite a few new faces around so it’s definitely a great opportunity for guys to put up their hands for the World Cup,” he said. “Yes, it’s a shorter format, but these sort of performances can definitely give players a chance.”