PROTEAS need to step it up
Proteas coach Micky Arthur might have his eye on the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Asia but of immediate concern is the small matter of five one-day internationals against Australia starting today.
Eager not to see a repeat of their tour to England last year - where they won the Test series and were embarrassed in the one-dayers - Arthur will be hoping for a positive start at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when play gets under way at 5.30am South African time.
Losing the services of captain Graham Smith to a hand injury is a big blow for the side, and with vice captain Ashwell Prince still sidelined with an injury, the responsibility falls on stand-in captain Johan Botha to lead what is a reasonably inexperienced Proteas side.
JP Duminy will be looking to build on his impressive form in the Test matches, as will fast bowler Dale Steyn.
Steyn in particular should enjoy playing in Melbourne since this is where he picked up a 10-wicket haul and was named man of the match in the Test series.
Conditions should be similar to what they experienced a few weeks back, with a fast, bouncy pitch sure to assist the fast bowlers.
Australia, still hurting from their Test drubbing, are also in a rebuilding phase and a lot will be expected of newcomers James Hopes, David Hussey and Shaun Marsh.
Other matches in the one-day series:
Sunday January 18, Hobart
Friday January 23, Sydney
Monday January 26, Adelaide
Friday January 30, Perth