South Africa expect the spotlight to shine on every move they make during their upcoming series against Australia but head coach Ottis Gibson is preparing for anything but fireworks.
The Proteas will play their first match on Australian soil since the Newlands debacle when they face the Prime Minister's XI at Manuka Oval on Wednesday.
South African batsman Faf Du Plessis.Credit:AFP
The fallout from the Cape Town sandpaper saga will be a subplot to South Africa's ensuing three-match one-day international series and lone Twenty20 clash against Australia beginning on Sunday.
Gibson isn't expecting a replay of any ugly moments in the vein of David Warner and Quinton de Kock's stairwell confrontation, Kagiso Rabada's shoulder charge on Steve Smith or Australia's ball tampering.
The Proteas moved on long ago as Faf du Plessis leads his side against an Australian outfit experiencing a change of the guard under new skipper Aaron Finch, with Josh Hazlewood and Alex Carey his deputies.
Australia have won just four of 18 games across all three formats since the South African series which sparked a damning review of Cricket Australia's "arrogant" culture but Gibson doesn't see the hosts as vulnerable.
"We’re halfway to our preparation for the World Cup and that’s what we’re focusing on," Gibson said.
"This is just the next step on that World Cup journey. We’ve been looking to play a certain type of cricket, a little bit more positive and aggressive, and we’re just going to test it out.
"Despite what’s going on off the field, they’re still a team you have to respect. They still have quality players, now is just an opportunity to test ourselves against them to see where we are."
Gibson will not pull any punches against the Prime Minister's XI as he prepares to roll out a near full-strength side against Cricket Australia's next generation of prospects.
It means Dale Steyn could come into the mix after one of the best quicks in the modern era returned to the one-day international fold for the first time in almost two years last month.
PRIME MINISTER'S XI
Wednesday, October 31: Prime Minister's XI v South Africa at Manuka Oval, 1.50pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Prime Minister's XI squad: George Bailey (c) (Tasmania), Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia), Max Bryant (Queensland), Ben Dwarshuis (New South Wales), Jack Edwards (New South Wales), Sam Heazlett (Queensland), Kurtis Patterson (New South Wales), Josh Philippe (Western Australia), Usman Qadir (Western Australia), Blake Edwards (Queensland), Jason Sangha (New South Wales). 12th man: Tom Engelbrecht (ACT/NSW Country).
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.
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