South Africa have been going through an ongoing transition in the past few years. Many players left the country to opt for the financial security that the Kolpak deal would offer them. That left a big void in the team and it was getting tough for the current lot of players to fill. Faf du Plessis felt the burden of a Proteas team in transition the most as he decided to quit as captain from ODIs and Tests owing to recent results leaving way too many questions than answers for him and the team.
Quinton de Kock has taken over the mantle of leading the side in LOIs and has thrived so far personally as his batting has gone up by a notch post getting the captaincy. But despite that South Africa, weren't able to win the series against England recently, narrowly losing the fantastic and closely fought T20I series 1-2.
Australia on the other hand look far more stable and strong on paper in comparison to the Proteas. Aaron Finch and co look pretty sorted and they have prioritised the T20 format and have bought in T20 specialists which has improved their performances in the shortest form of the game where they have been rather lukewarm over the years.
This series holds significant importance for both teams with the ICC World T20 in the horizon. Both teams would look at sorting out their team combinations as they are heading into the marquee tournament.
Here's looking at five players to look forward to from the 3-match T20I series between South Africa and Australia starting from February 21st, 2020.
#5 Faf du Plessis
A fine batsmen, fantastic fielder and an asset for any T20 team - Faf du Plessis has unfortunately led the burden of captaining a Proteas team in transition affect his game. He is no longer the force he was say 12-15 months back. He has played only five T20Is for his country in the past few years.
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With him stepping down from captaincy from ODIs and Tests after a string of disappointments across formats, he is back in the T20I squad as just a batsman for the series against Australia. Looking at the World T20 and the fact that South Africa's chances will largely depend on him being at his prime, it would be interesting to see how he goes about his business in this T20I series. Can he play freely and score big?
#4 Steven Smith
Steve Smith proved his mettle in Test cricket upon return post his one year ban. His heroics in the Ashes series proved the fact that form is temporary and class is permanent. He may not look extremely pleasing to the eye but he gets the job done. He has transitioned smoothly in ODIs too with constant contributions in the ICC Cricket World Cup and also in the ODIs that followed.
He got picked into the T20I team in the Australian home summer and has been effective. He would play the perfect foil to the attacking batsmen like Aaron Finch, David Warner and Marcus Stoinis in this T20I side. The biggest challenge for Smith in this three match T20I series will be how he can battle his mind and come out strong. As it was in South Africa where he along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft got caught in the Sand Paper Gate scandal.
Note: All statistics as of February 19, 2020