Australian coach Justin Langer is looking forward to Australia letting their cricket do the talking as they return to South Africa for the first time since the sandpaper scandal.
Justin Langer and limited-overs captain Aaron Finch said they were looking forward to playing in front of South African crowds on their first tour since the sandpaper scandal of 2018.
The Aussies have travelled to South Africa to take on the Proteas in a three-match ODI and T20 series.
Their first T20 match on Friday in Johannesburg will be their first match since the team left the country in disgrace in 2018 after Cameron Bancroft was caught using a piece of sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball.
Langer is confident that the side has learned from their 2018 mistakes and is eager for his side to display that on the field.
“We are really excited to be back here, we love playing cricket in South Africa,” Langer said.
“It was obviously a very hard tour last time, but the way our guys have moved on have given us a great opportunity to reassess where we are at in Australian cricket.
“We talk about making Australians proud of us again and earning back that respect, not only of the public and our past players but also across the world.
“Hopefully they’ve shown that over the last 18 months.
“The guys are in a really good place, they’ve worked hard, we’ve had a tough tour of England.
“But the way the guys have come together, they’ve played great cricket, they are great ambassadors for Australian cricket on and off the cricket field.”
Langer identified the successful ‘reintegration’ into the team of Steve Smith and David Warner as a sign the team have moved in a positive direction.
He also confirmed that the team hadn’t given them any special treatment as they returned to the scene of the infamous incident.
“Not before we came here, but there was a brilliant reintegration back into the team before they came back into the team…eight months ago,” Langer said.
“There was a lot of really good work done then.
“They’ve had a great dress rehearsal for South Africa in England, it was a tough tour for those two guys.
“I was really proud of the way they let their bat do the talking, and again, they were great ambassadors off the field.
“Hopefully, they’ll be looking forward to playing good cricket here as well.”
Langer also joked about how his return to The Wanderers ground in Johannesburg was a ‘bitter-sweet’ moment.
Aaron Finch said the Australians were confident they could do well on their tour but said he had been impressed by the way South Africa played in a high-scoring T20 series against England.
“I followed that really closely. It was a great series to watch. Obviously the bat dominated more than the ball.
For South Africa to having a changing side and play so well was impressive. All the guys in their side had an impact on the game at various times.”