Johannesburg - The 2022/23 Test series between South Africa and Australia will most likely start a new era in the rivalry between the countries’ Test sides.
Between December 2008 and April 2018, the two nations’ cricket teams engaged in a number of epic Test match battles which defined an era. From JP Duminy’s 166 at the MCG in 2008, Dale Steyn’s ten-fer, in the same match (and his 76 with the bat), Mitchell Johnson’s 12-wicket haul in Centurion in 2014, to hamburger-stained shirts, broken fingers, fractured shoulders, arguments on stairwells, mint sweets and sandpaper … South Africa vs Australia has had it all.
However Dean Elgar, who leads the 2022 squad Down Under, believes it’s time to move on from those battles and specifically South Africa’s success in Australia. “The Proteas have had positive experiences (in Australia), I’ve been part of two series wins. We can’t use that as a confidence booster. Those are great achievements, but it’s something for us to try and strive for, but it’s a whole new squad,” said the South African Test captain.
He’s right, and in Australia they won’t care. South Africa has won the last three series’ between the two countries in Australia and the current generation who are donning the “Baggy Green” will be desperate to down the Proteas.
It’s the peak of the Australian season too with Tests at two iconic venues; the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Sydney Cricket Ground, where the Proteas last played Tests in the historic 2008/09 series.
Kagiso Rabada who’s had his run-ins with the Australians in the past, most notably at St George’s Park in 2018 insists that his teammates have nothing to fear from Pat Cummins’ team.
“It’s a game of cricket. As much as the nerves and the passion come in, which is incredibly important, it’s also just a game of cricket and it is not as intimidating as people make it out to seem,” said Rabada.
“It can sound much more intimidating than it actually is. At the same time, when you are playing a quality opposition it can get the best out of you and I think it’s about letting it happen and with me, it always comes out against Australia … and it’s (about) not backing down from the challenge. You’re playing another cricket team and if they want to come hard, you stand up to it instead of going away.”
Proteas Squad for Australia tour Dean Elgar (capt), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Lizaad Williams, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Khaya Zondo
Four-day Tour Match
Cricket Australia XI vs South Africa – The Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Australia vs South Africa – The Gabba, Brisbane
Australia vs South Africa – MCG, Melbourne 4-8 January
Australia vs South Africa – SCG, Sydney