The Proteas will not rest on their laurels as they gear up to take on Ireland in a two-match T20 international series starting on Wednesday, batsman Aiden Markram says.
Coming off the back of a nail-biting 2-1 series win against England, the 27-year-old right-hander believes the Irish pose a serious challenge to the Proteas for the first match in Bristol.
“It will be a new, exciting challenge for us.
“We have played them in Ireland in the last 12 months and they are a team that is improving with every series they play.
“I think it is about us just working and trusting the plans we have in place and that has been working for us.
“We know that if we take care of our space and play with the right intensity, hopefully that will be enough to get us over the line,” he said.
Markram said the return of Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw to the national fold, along with the emergence of Tristan Stubbs, had created some healthy competition for places within the squad.
“The form they have shown against England is really exciting for us as a team. It creates some good competition among the squad; it is healthy competition for us to have.
“For me, if I play and bat after them, somewhere in the middle order, it would be about playing the situation.
“If they get us off to a flyer, it is about me coming in and matching that intensity or adding more intensity to the innings,” he said.
He felt that his stint in the Indian Premier League had played a major role in him getting his game back to a level with which he was satisfied.
“Confidence is a huge thing in this game, especially for a batter.
“That tournament certainly provided me with a bit of confidence and belief that I may have been lacking before that IPL tournament.
“So it did play a role in terms of putting me in a better space mentally, giving me that belief that I can compete on the IPL stage with some really good cricketers in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been ruled out of the two T20 internationals against Ireland and now also looks in serious doubt for the three-match Test series to follow against England.
Rabada, who is a key element of the Proteas pace attack, sustained a medial ankle injury and management will be hoping to have the pacy right-hander back in time for the first Test at Lord’s starting on August 17.