South Africa's time for experimentation ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup is coming to an end, according to coach Ottis Gibson.
Speaking after rain washed out his team's final Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe in Benoni on Sunday, Gibson said a short limited overs tour of Australia, starting later this month, would be a crucial part of the build-up to next year's World Cup in England.
"We want to go there with an attitude of trying to win," said Gibson. "The squad that we pick will reflect that and reflect our feeling on the formula and the way we want to play cricket."
South Africa were seldom under pressure in three limited overs and two Twenty20 internationals against Zimbabwe but tried to play the kind of positive cricket that will be needed for more demanding encounters.
"There is a lot being said about being positive. The key is having the will to stick with it even when things get tough," said Gibson.
The Barbados-born coach said leading batsman Hashim Amla would miss the tour of Australia because of a finger injury but indicated that veteran bowlers Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir would make the trip, adding to the strike power of fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
"I know what Rabada and Ngidi can do but for me the real excitement was watching Dale Steyn bowling in the second game in Bloemfontein," he said. "It was fantastic to see him back to that level again, bowling quickly with that skill and accuracy."
"There are a lot of guys we have in our thoughts who will be in the squad to Australia," said Gibson. "For the last 12 months we have been looking at players. In the next couple of months, the players have been told that the window is closing all the time."
After three one-day internationals in Australia, South Africa will have five-match home series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
"In those series we want to be focusing on a core of 17 to 18 players we will be looking at," he said.
South Africa's squad for Australia will be announced on Thursday.