Proteas ‘inspired’ by in-form Springboks ahead of Australia series
"It's inspiring to watch them do things like that."
Proteas T20 captain Aiden Markram speaks to the media ahead of their first match against Australia. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Playing their first international series in five months with a new-look squad, Proteas captain Aiden Markram says the national cricket team have been motivated by the recent form displayed by the Springboks as they prepare to take on Australia in a limited overs campaign on home soil.
Two weeks out from their opening match of the Rugby World Cup, the Boks thumped New Zealand 35-7 at Twickenham over the weekend, as they prepared to defend their title in France in search of their fourth global crown.
Gearing up to face perennial rivals Australia in a three-match T20 series starting in Durban on Wednesday night (6pm), followed by a five-match ODI series, Markram said the cricket side had been given a boost by the rugby team’s latest result.
“To see them dominate the All Blacks team, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like that, so it’s inspiring to watch them do things like that and it’s great for them to be peaking going into a World Cup,” Markram said.
“I think we all know that as a Proteas team we back them through and through, and we don’t miss a game if we can, so that was exciting and good to watch.”
Just two months out from their own World Cup tournament in India, where they will go in search of their maiden title, Markram said the Proteas would begin their build-up for the showpiece in the upcoming ODI series against the tourists.
In the T20 series, however, they were entirely focused on victory and he insisted there would be no room for experimentation.
While the Proteas haven’t competed since securing their place at the World Cup by beating the Netherlands in an ODI series in April, and the T20 squad includes four uncapped players, Markram said they were ready for battle against Australia.
The final team would be announced internally on Tuesday night, the skipper confirmed, and he was reluctant to reveal who was in line to contest the opening match of the T20 series.
He nonetheless felt they had sufficient quality in the squad, regardless of the experience of the players selected, to ensure they could open the campaign with a bang.
“The mindset we take into the series is important. We’re not going to use inexperience and things like that as excuses,” Markram said.
“We believe everyone here can win games for South Africa and we are entrusting them to have the same belief as players.
“It’s always great playing against the Australians and the guys are super excited to get stuck in again.”
All three matches in the T20 International series will be played in Durban. Following Wednesday’s game, the series will continue on Friday and will close with the final clash on Sunday.