JOHANNESBURG: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes that a focus on enjoyment and on sticking to what has worked for them will provide a formula for success at the ICC World Cup.“In...
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes that a focus on enjoyment and on sticking to what has worked for them will provide a formula for success at the ICC World Cup.
“In previous World Cups, we wanted to do Superman things,” du Plessis said on the eve of South Africa’s departure for England and Wales.
“We thought we had to be more special, we had to do something more than we usually do, and we did not do what was good enough. We haven’t always got that right in the past, to play our best cricket at the World Cup, because we put so much pressure on ourselves. We want to just focus on enjoying our cricket.”
Seven members of South Africa’s squad, including du Plessis, were part of the 2015 World Cup campaign, when the side crashed out with a four-wicket defeat to New Zealand in the semi-finals.
Du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Dale Steyn were also part of South Africa’s team at the 2011 tournament, when they came off second best in another high-pressure encounter with New Zealand.
“We believed you had to be really special to win the World Cup, that you had to do something more than you usually do, which is not true,” du Plessis said of previous campaigns.
“Whatever we’ve been doing consistently, the way we’ve played while beating teams that will work. We have to do the basics as well as possible, teams don’t win the World Cup by someone scoring a century off 50 balls or taking 7 for 20.”
Rather than shying away from the pressures that come with international competition, du Plessis has urged his team to grapple with them in positive ways.
“We started a year or two ago with a real focus on mental preparation and, as a captain, I probably speak more about that than previous captains, but I really believe it’s an area we can get better in,” du Plessis said.
“I’ve been there and I know the pressures, I understand how to deal with them. There’s a reason why we want the guys to play freely - because we don’t want them to have a fear of failure, which is what the World Cup is for some of them. Our success in England over the next couple of months depends on how well we release that aspect of our play - we need that for the team to be at our best. Each player needs to find out his own strengths.”