CAPE TOWN – Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has welcomed the abuse his team are expecting from the Australian crowds on their limited-overs tour Down Under.
The Proteas are in Australia for five One-Day Internationals and a solitary T20. But it is also the South Africans first meeting with the Aussies since the infamous ball-tampering saga that occurred during the third Test at Newlands in March, which resulted in lengthy bans for Australian captain Steve Smith and opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
It also the first time Du Plessis will encounter the Australian crowds since being branded a “cheat” by the locals when he too was found guilty of ball-tampering after applying saliva to the ball while chewing a mint on the Proteas last visit Down Under in 2016.
But the Proteas skipper has embraced the unique challenges of touring Australia, and actually believes the expected vitriolic atmosphere could be beneficial to his young team.
“We have a very young squad in terms of guys who haven’t been here in the past. You walk around our changeroom and many of the guys will tell you it’s their first time. You are playing away from home. It is supposed to be tough,” Du Plessis said during his arrival press conference at the new stadium in Perth.
“I walked out to bat at Adelaide in that night Test and 60 000 people were booing me. That’s what makes it so challenging to tour, when the crowd is intimidating. That’s something what youngsters will take a great deal of learning from. I certainly learnt a lot about myself just getting through that, it tests your character.
I am hoping that it’s there, just so that our team can get used to it, especially when you go to World Cup, there is a lot of crowd noise. And isn’t all for you.”
Du Plessis, though, is aware of not allowing off-field matters to erupt like it did back in South Africa when a couple members of both teams almost came to blows on the Kingsmead staircase mid-way during the first test. He has even promised to not reignite the events that unfolded on that fateful day under the guise of Table Mountain.
“We love playing against Australia. Two similar teams in how they set up in their competitive natures. There is no bad blood between the two teams. For us, it is business as usual. I don’t feel we are a team that sledges that much. We enjoy the game and we are competitive. Our body language is always competitive.
But as far as verbals are concerned, most of the time – obviously there are times when someone gets frustrated and says something from a frustration point of view – but as a general point of view our team is pretty good,” Du Plessis said,
“I don’t think us as team would go there. It is similar to, I suppose, the “Mintgate” when I played against the Aussies, there was nothing like that out in the middle. It has nothing to do with the cricket. It is in the past. We will try to be competitive and like I said our body language will be very competitive, but what actually happened at Newlands that’s all in the past.”
The first one-day international is on November 4 in Perth, followed by matches on November 9 in Adelaide and on November 11 in Hobart.