24th May: Mumbai Indians v R. Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
South African Test captain Graeme Smith was in confident mood prior to his team's departure for Australia, where they play the first of three Tests in Brisbane beginning on 9th November.
The Proteas are proud of an excellent recent record away from home, which has seen them rise to the top of the Test rankings on the back of series wins in Australia, England and the West Indies as well as drawing in India last time around.
Their run has seen them not lose a Test series overseas since 2006. Four years ago, Smith masterminded a 2-1 series win over Australia and with eight of his players from that tour still involved, he hopes for a repeat.
"One thing is that we started to get a team together that could travel well and adapt to conditions," he said. "The maturity of the team in terms of growing has been a key factor in our development. In addition the players are settled and are able to adjust, not only on the pitch but off the field.
"The team handles being away from home in a good space and in a mature way, which is a big factor in today’s world."
Although that success was a landmark for South Africa and one which provided the springboard for further winning trips, they will have to quickly get used to playing in Australia in November earlier than they have done before.
"It’s about understanding what you need to do and how you are going to be successful in the environment that you are playing in. We have a few experienced guys around that have toured a fair bit and hopefully they will use their knowledge well.
"Being a November tour is something that you have to adapt to from a conditioning point of view,” Smith said. “We have to maximise our preparation and make sure as a team we come together quite quickly and understand what it is going to take to be successful here."
South Africa begin their build-up with a match against Australia 'A' in Sydney where they will meet Test-capped players including Phillip Hughes, Andrew McDonald and Steven Smith.
The competitive nature of the match is something that coach Gary Kirsten is relishing.
"It’s actually nice that we have a really competitive game,” he said "It is something that we needed, a few of our guys have had some time off and the other half played in the Champions League T20. My experience of playing against Australia A has always been of a highly competitive game. I think it will be very good for us."
© Cricket World 2012
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