“I’d like to see South Africa back their six batters,” Smith told ESPNcricinfo. “I think there’s always that fear because the batting has been weak. They’ve always looked to play the extra batter. Maybe that can be a defensive mindset and not an aggressive mindset. I’d like to see them take an aggressive mindset.
“You’ve got Lungi Ngidi, you’ve got Marco Jansen. You’ve got [Kagiso] Rabada and Anrich Nortje, and you’ve got Keshav Maharaj, who are all outstanding Test bowlers and can really win you games single-handedly. Work on the batters, get the six batters to bat in partnerships and get totals. If you get the totals you want, bowlers can win you games. And South Africa should pick the bowlers who can win you games.”
“I think whenever you tour Australia you got to be prepared for being in someone else’s country for a period of time. Crowds.. and the players playing the game hard so definitely you’ve got to be mentally prepared
Graeme Smith knows a thing or two about touring down under
“If you can get those partnerships together over 100-150, you start to make an impact on the team’s innings. I think when you’re under pressure, you tend to focus on yourself and the pressure just grows, how you can work together as a batting unit to post totals there in Australia is going to be key. You obviously need some of your big players to perform well and take the pressure off the youngsters.”
South Africa’s bowling continues to remain their biggest strength. Their bowling average of 24.94 is the second lowest while their strike-rate of 46.7 is the best among the Test-playing teams in the last two years.
“The thing about KG is that he’s the centre piece for South African cricket at the moment so whenever he doesn’t play it’s noticeable,” Smith said. “But it’s about producing enough talent that you can afford to rest a player here and there. At the moment you know in a World Cup, and a big tour to Australia, he has to play his roles there. And also as he gets more experience, he will learn to manage himself and stay focused on what’s important.”
With Elgar saying his side was prepared for a “feisty” series against the current No. 1 Test team, Smith, who has been part of three bilateral tours to Australia, said South Africa should solely focus on competing on the field.
“I think whenever you tour Australia you got to be prepared for being in someone else’s country for a period of time. Crowds.. and the players playing the game hard so definitely you’ve got to be mentally prepared. I think the key is always playing good cricket. It’s the only way that I’ve found over the years, having lost really badly once and won twice, if you can play really good cricket and you turn everything around and the home team gets under pressure. So I hope that South Africa focus on their performances, in particular their batsmen. There is some talent in the bowling ranks, [but] if the batters can get some runs in Australia it gives you a chance to beat them.”
The first of three Tests between Australia and South Africa starts on December 17 at the Gabba in Brisbane,