Potshefstroom: Australian cricket team coach Tim Nielsen has rebutted suggestions that his boys are timid and are no longer "cocksure" about their abilities as champion players.
Nielsen, who was hit with a barrage of questions at the team''s training session in Potchefstroom on Wednesday, including whether he thought his team were now "timid", was quoted by the Herald Sun as saying: "I''m certainly not saying it''s timid."
"It''s more difficult when you are not holding the mantle of being the team that has just won the last series we''ve played. That''s something we''ve got to get used to. South Africa have just won the series in Australia. It''s more a perception of Australia being cocksure over a long period of time. The fact that we have won a lot of series and won a lot of cricket games that people see us as being that way," he added.
"And now you''re telling us that we''re maybe not as cocksure as we should be. But inside the group we are very confident. We feel as though we''ve got a good group ready to play good Test-match cricket," Neilsen said.
But South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher is expecting the normal war of words to erupt before the first Test starts in Johannesburg next Thursday.
"There''s always hype about when South Africa meet Australia in a series, lots will be said beforehand," Boucher told The Star newspaper.
"They have a few loopholes in their squad, there''s no doubt about that. You only have to look at their side to see that," he said of Australia''s inexperienced lineup.
"But they are still a very good team. As a great cricketing nation, they would have been badly hurt by what happened over there and they will come back harder here.
"In the past, they''ve been fond of talking big before a series. They did it again before the last one in Australia.
"It will be interesting to see how they go about that sort of thing before this series."