THE Australian cricket team will head to South Africa full of confidence but cannot expect its vulnerabilities to go unexposed against the Proteas.
That’s the verdict of former Australian Test player Keith Stackpole, who yesterday urged against complacency against the world number one.
Stackpole, 73, was at Mack Oval as part of a two-day Shaun Brown Cricket Coaching camp, attended by about 60 juniors from across the region.
He said he had admiration for what Michael Clarke’s men achieved in completing a 5-0 whitewash against England in the Ashes series.
But he said South Africa would pose a much sterner challenge on its home grounds when the Australians toured in February and March.
The South African tour starts with a four-day match against an invitational XI. Three Tests and three Twenty20 matches follow.
“The South Africans, what I’ve seen of them they’re a very good team but they’re there to be taken,” Stackpole said.
“The positive aspect for Australia is there’s nothing like confidence.
‘‘If you win something 5-0 you’ve got to go in with confidence.
“But if you analyse our performances, even though they were comprehensive, we have been vulnerable with the bat.
“The South Africans, they’re more relentless.
‘‘If you get bowled out cheaply in the first innings, you’re going to find it hard to win the match.”
Stackpole played 43 Tests and six one-day internationals from 1966 to 1974. He made 2807 runs at 37.42 in Tests, with a high score of 207 against England.
He was a Wisden cricketer of the year in 1973 but has spent the last 20 years taking cricket tours across the world.
“We’re off to South Africa in a couple of weeks’ time and we’ll be in the West Indies and England next year,” he said. ‘‘I thoroughly enjoy those.
“And most importantly I love being involved with the young blokes.
‘‘I sometimes get a little bit frustrated because I’d like to spend more time with them.
“Because in one day of coaching you can only pass over hints.
‘‘One thing I must say, particularly about country boys, they seem to be so well-mannered.
“They seem a lot better adjusted than city fellas.
‘‘I’ve only seen one mobile phone since I’ve been here, which is a good thing.”