The South African A cricket team which arrived in the country Monday immediately declared that they will be taking the triangular tournament which commences Wednesday very seriously.
The team which is captained by opening batsman Jacques Rudolph — a serious contender for an opener’s berth in the South African Test team — is a formidable outfit which is certain to test both the Zimbabwean side and the Australians.
Only four of the 14 players in the squad have not been capped at full international level, and there would have been fewer had wicketkeeper Morné van Wyk and seamer Ryan McLaren not withdrawn.
“It’s obviously a big tour for us. There are three very competitive teams. We believe we have a strong side and the Aussies also have some experience in their team as well and Zimbabwe playing at home is also going to be competitive.”
Rudolph said their major objective would be to win the series and he said this was possible as most of the players in his team would be using the tour to be considered for the senior side.
“All the guys will be aiming to do well and considered for the senior side and I believe we are capable and very well prepared to win this series. We had a training camp for the past four days at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria and all the guys are in a confident mood.”
Head coach Vincent Barnes said: “This tour is important for the young cricketers coming through as they would want to get closer to breaking into the senior national side. We are obviously looking to get the results and win the series but at the end of the day the individual performances will be more important.”
Vincent is the former Proteas coach, who turned down an offer to coach Bangladesh.
He will be assisted by former Mountaineers coach Allan Donald who is now the assistant coach in the senior side and will be looking at some of the promising bowlers in this team.
Some of the fast bowlers in the team who will be hoping to catch his eye include Craig Alexander, Rory Kleinveldt, Ethy Mbhalati, Vernon Philander and Rusty Theron.
His background knowledge of some of players he worked alongside at the Mutare-based franchise and local conditions will be invaluable to the South Africans.
Some of the players to look out for in this side include wicketkeeper/batsman Heino Kuhn and all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe, who will provide them with some options in the spin-bowling department.
The South African A team will play their first match against Australia A on Thursday, a day after the latter would have played their first match against Zimbabwe.
Squad: Jacques Rudolph (capt), Craig Alexander, Loots Bosman, Rory Kleinveldt, Heino Kuhn, Ethy Mbhalati, David Miller, Justin Ontong, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Rusty Theron, Roelof van der Merwe, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.