Johannesburg: South African captain Faf du Plessis said his team are braced for a hostile reception from supporters and the media when they travel to play their “favourite” opposition Australia in a limited-overs tour next month.
It will be South Africa’s first trip Down Under since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier this year, when Australia captain Steve Smith, and batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, received bans from Cricket Australia.
The Australian team bemoaned the treatment they received from South African supporters during that Test tour and Du Plessis said his side would likely face a backlash.
“Australia is our favourite team to play against, all the stuff that comes with playing them, on and off the field, I love that and I feel that brings the best out of us as a team,” Du Plessis told reporters on Tuesday.
Du Plessis has twice before been found guilty of ball-tampering himself, including on a Test tour of Australia in 2016 when he was accused of using sugary saliva after sucking a sweet to change the condition of the ball.
“It will be nice and hostile. We are not expecting anything less. Zunaid our security officer has been working hard in the gym.
“We expect them to try and unsettle us as a team when it comes to the media space, obviously with myself being at the forefront of it, but we see it as part and parcel of touring Australia.”
Du Plessis said his side would be under even greater scrutiny than on previous tours. “I do think this time round there may be one or two more traps for the players to try and stay away from. At the end of the day we want to go there and play a brand of winning cricket.”
He said the tour would be an eye-opener for some of the younger members of the squad who have not played international cricket in Australia before.
“The crowds do play their part, they’re like a 12th man. Your mental strength is just as important as your skill. For a lot of the new guys it will be the first time where they field on the boundary and they hear just how good they are as human beings.
“You don’t get much of that anywhere else in the world anymore, it is the one place where you still feel like the crowd gets on top and really behind the home team.”
South Africa will play three One-day Internationals, starting in Perth on November 4, followed by a one-off Twenty20 international on the Gold Coast on November 17.