Fit Gibbs ready for challenge
South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs can re-invigorate his career in Australia following a stint in alcohol rehabilitation, according to coach Mickey Arthur.
Gibbs returns to the Proteas' Twenty20 side against Australia at the MCG tonight and Arthur said the one-day series was a chance for the 34-year-old to stake a claim for the upcoming World Cup.
"Herschelle's a quality player who we identified to carry on (and) go to the World Cup," Arthur said.
"I'm expecting 'Hersch' to lead the batting, he's one of our most experienced one-day players and I want to see him play with the responsibility that comes with being a senior player.
"I'm hoping he rises to that challenge, he seems hungry, he's fit and seems mentally refreshed."
With captain Graeme Smith sent home to recover from an elbow injury and broken bone in his hand, all-rounder Johan Botha returns to tonight's side as skipper.
"Australia did win the third Test, which gave them some momentum, so it's going to be hard work to get some of that momentum back again," the off-spinner said.
"It's going to be tough, a big challenge, but it's not going to go all their way."
Botha, who has captained South Africa three times in one-day contests, said he'll look to the experience of former skipper Neil McKenzie for an edge over Australia.
"I've played under him, and I'm definitely going to look to him throughout this tour to help out where he can," he said.
Australian wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi is one of several changes to the Australian side, which suffered its first Test series defeat at home in 16 years.
Brad Haddin has been rested from both Twenty20 matches against the Proteas, while pace bowler Mitchell Johnson and batsman Michael Clarke will also miss tonight's game.
Mike Hussey will play tonight after earlier being in doubt with a stomach bug.
Ronchi, 27, is looking forward to playing in front of an expected crowd of 70,000 at the 'G.
"I've just got to do my job, have fun and hopefully it all works out for itself," he said.
After dominating Australia in a thrilling Test series, Arthur said the South African one-day side was in a re-building phase and would introduce young players during this series.
"Fresh faces at this part of the tour is very good, it's been a long haul for us and the guys worked extremely hard through the Test tour," he said.
"To get some young faces in keeps refreshing the squad, which is great.
"We're going to put a lot of responsibility on some young players during this tour (and) we're going to rotate our quick bowlers, they've had a huge amount of bowling and we're going to keep them fresh for the return Test series."