Australian cricket’s snarly, sledging era is over, according to South Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis.
Du Plessis isn’t forecasting total peace and quiet for the Proteas’ three-Test tour of Australia, starting next month but says the verbal abuse that marred recent series between the Test superpowers has ended — mainly because Steve Smith is Australia’s captain.
“I have played against Australia now a lot of times and I think this (Australian) team is a little bit different than the team of old,” du Plessis said yesterday in Adelaide.
“The two of us play a similar brand of cricket now … we let the cricket do the talking.
“Sledging … it’s not as important these days. It’s respecting the opposition and trying to win the game of cricket.
“I have gone through different stages of playing against Australia, and certainly in the beginning it was different. But now under Steve Smith they seem to play a different brand and a similar brand of cricket that we do.”
Du Plessis’ comments follow injured South African star AB de Villiers describing the 2014 Test series between the nations as featuring the worst sledging he had encountered.
De Villiers’ account of the series differs from Australian paceman Siddle’s.
“He must never have been sledged before if that’s the case,” Siddle told reporters in Sydney yesterday.
“We were pretty tame, I think, compared to probably past eras and past teams.”
De Villiers is sidelined because of an elbow injury, leaving du Plessis to lead South Africans during the tour, starting with a two-day game against a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide on Saturday.
The fixture will be played as a day-night match with pink balls — a prelude to the third Test in Adelaide in late November which will be the Proteas’ first pink-ball Test.
The South Africans arrived fresh from their 5-0 one-day series whitewash of Australia which du Plessis described as “a huge highlight in all of our careers”.
But he was wary of reading too much into the result ahead of the Test series, which starts in Perth on November 3.
“We do appreciate it’s a different series, different ball, different teams, but we do come over here confident,” he said. “But we do have to start fresh, a clean slate.
“We by no means think we will rock up here in Australia and it will be easy. It never is.
“Australia in Australia is as hard as the Indian team in India. They (Australia) are an extremely competitive team and we will have to play some really good cricket to compete.”