- Proteas batter Rassie van der Dussen said Ireland have become a very competitive full member nation.
- The Proteas will be playing Ireland in three ODIs, the first of which will be played on Saturday at Malahide.
- Van der Dussen has experience of playing in Ireland.
Proteas batter Rassie van der Dussen says Ireland have come on leaps and bounds as a competitive full member cricket nation.
Ireland, whom South Africa will be facing in the first of three ODIs at Malahide on Sunday, first made a splash at the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
Van der Dussen, who played club cricket in Ireland in 2013 and 2014, has been impressed at how the country has come along.
South Africa played Ireland in Benoni in 2016 where limited overs skipper Temba Bavuma made a ton on debut in what was a big 206-run win.
At the time, Van der Dussen was still some way off national team reckoning.
"They're a team that has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years. I played club cricket here a few years ago," Van der Dussen said.
"Seeing where they are now and how far they have come, it is a really exciting prospect for us.
"These days, you don't have easy games anymore, especially away from home. It's a massive series for them and they're going to throw everything they have at us.
"We've had a successful tour and we want to make it even more of a success."
Van der Dussen was a prolific run scorer for the Church of Ireland Young Men's Society (CIYMS) club in Belfast and enjoyed his stay at the club.
The last two T20s will be played in Belfast, something Van der Dussen is looking forward to.
"Playing club cricket gave me an opportunity to get used to different conditions and different people," Van der Dussen said.
"Ireland is a full member now and for us to play here, we're really looking forward to the challenge.
"I think the last two games are in Belfast at Stormont where I played some club cricket, so I'm looking forward to seeing some of the faces I know."
The difficult batting conditions in the five T20s against the West Indies in Grenada made for tricky batting in the last five overs.
While the shortest format is something Van der Dussen isn't too concerned about because of the pressing ICC Men's World Cup Super League points they need to get from the series, their back-end batting remains a serious work in progress.
Even against Pakistan in April, South Africa struggled to finish well, but Van der Dussen said it's something they're trying to get right.
"The last five overs of the T20s is an area of the game we weren't happy with in the West Indies," Van der Dussen said.
"We were good from overs one to 15 and we really applied our basics well there, but came short in the last five overs of the five games.
"We tried different ways and tactics, but the reality was it was tough to bat, especially for the new batters.
"We're not too worried about that, but in 50 over cricket, there's a lot more time to get your eye in. I know where I came short in the West Indies and what I need to work on."