Quinton de Kock, South Africa's wicketkeeper and opening batsman, made a huge statement when he replied to a reporter's question ahead of their one-day international series against Australia. Funnily enough, the question by the reporter was totally unrelated to his answer, which would surely leave the Australians fuming.
The reporter asked about South Africa's setbacks in the previous season against India, England and later in the Caribbean Tri-Series, and De Kock replied, "Four months in India takes a lot out of you and it was straight from there to West Indies. That's five months out of the country and constant cricket. It's tough. That's why I think some of the Aussies are blaming their fingers to go home early."
The Aussie batsman he was referring to was Shaun Marsh, who was picked in the ODI team for this series, however, a finger injury that he sustained in Sri Lanka turned out to be worse than anticipated, and he was withdrawn from the squad.
Marsh isn't the only injured Aussie in this series, with pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner, out with a shin injury and calf strain respectively.
De Kock will be glad that Starc, Hazlewood and Faulkner are not playing in the series after his comments, which would have otherwise made him a sure target for the quick Aussie bowlers.
It is never wise to call the Australians soft as it often backfires for the opposition.
However, De Kock seems to be unperturbed and said, "I like to keep confident in my game, I don't like to get into my own shell. My confidence will always be there. Even if we don't do well it'll always be there."
With a long five-match series coming up after the lone ODI against Ireland, where he made a quick fire 82, De Kock will be hoping to provide fiery starts for the likes of Faf du Plessis and Amla to capitalise on.
De Kock has a relatively low average of 24.60 against Australia in ODIs compared to his overall average of 42.50. He will be accompanied by his usual opening partner Amla, if he is back after the birth of his child.
Bavuma had opened in Amla's place in the ODI against Ireland and made his name with a debut hundred.