Faf du plessis and aaron finch
Faf du Plessis (L) and Aaron Finch (Getty Images)

Opposition captains Aaron Finch and Faf du Plessis are keeping cards to the chests as Australia and South Africa gear up for the first ODI in Perth on Sunday. Both set of teams have refused to divulge their respective playing Xis although Finch did say his team has zeroed in the men who will take field at the Perth Stadium.

The contest gains immense significance in the backdrop of upheaval going in Australian cricket. This is the first time the two sides are meeting on the cricket field after the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year.

Both the sides have reiterated they have moved on from the issue and their focus is solely on playing cricket now. Australia have lost 16 of their last 18 completed ODIs, enduring turbulent times both on and off the field.

Finch, the newly installed ODI skipper who replaced Tim Paine, isn’t the one to dwell on the past results and has advised his teammates to focus on the basics.

“I think it would be unfair to the guys coming into the squad to dwell too much on the negatives,” Finch said on Saturday. “Whenever you have new guys coming in it’s about making them feel comfortable in the environment, not trying to put doubt or fear in their mind about an end result.”

He continued, “If we can follow our process and do our basics well enough that (winning) will start taking care of itself. If you start looking at the end result purely that’s when you can make some errors in judgement and fall down that way. It’s just important to keep it nice and positive and follow our processes as opposed to the full outcome.”

Du Plessis isn’t also reading too much into Australia’s shoddy ODI form saying they have got some fantastic players on the paper.

“Whenever you get a chance to play against Australia it feels like you’re playing against a very good cricket team,” he said. “When you look at what they’ve got in their squad at the moment on paper there are some fantastic names there with the ball and with the bat. The results have not been as good as they would have liked, but from our point of view it’s really important you look at Australia as a team they when there’s a clash between Australia and South Africa it’s always a tough one.”

South Africa are in Australia for the three-match ODI series followed by a lone T20I. Unlike their hosts, the Proteas haven’t shortlisted their XI and will take a decision after reviewing the conditions. “We’ve got two really good spinners but we’ve also got a nice seam attack. It’s about trying to balance out what we want to try and do according to what the conditions are giving us here tomorrow,” Du Plessis said.