Australia coach Justin Langer believes disgraced David Warner and Steve Smith are ready for a hostile reception from South African supporters when they play in a three-match Twenty20 International series starting in Johannesburg on Friday.
For several years cricket teams have been criticised for being good only good at home and for being incapable of mastering foreign conditions.
Every time a team reaches number one status after an extended home season they get their socks beaten off on foreign shores. England in India, Australia in Sri Lanka, South Africa in India, India in England – the list just goes on.
In 2015, with the exception of Pakistan defeating both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Australia prevailing over the West Indies, India overcoming Sri Lanka and England putting one over South Africa, no touring party won a Test series. That is five wins for visitors in 19 series played that year.
In 2016 New Zealand and Sri Lanka prevailed over Zimbabwe, India beat the West Indies, South Africa beat Australia and Australia in turn rolled New Zealand. That was five successes in 18 overseas series.
In 2017 South Africa best New Zealand, both India and Pakistan put one past the West Indies, South Africa defeated New Zealand and Sri Lanka prevailed over Pakistan. For the second year running the score was five of 18 and for the third successive year only five series were won by a touring country. In all these years even fewer teams won warm-up tour matches.
But next year that’s all about to change.
Cricket Australia has found the Holy Grail, the Shangri-la, the Godot. It has discovered a way to emulate the Invincibles of 1948. Never again will touring teams despair about not winning in foreign destinations.
In the English summer of 2019, when Australia travels to the mother country for the much-awaited Ashes, it will occupy double the normal number of seats on the Qantas Airbus A380, for there will be not one but two Australian teams flying to the British Isles.
The Australian Test side will clash with its own A team in the only warm-up game before the Test series starts. No matter what Joe Root and his boys have in store for Justin Langer’s boys, at least one Australian team will in all likelihood come away with a victory under its belt.
With one master stroke Cricket Australia has forever banished the prospect of a winless away series.
Let the games begin.