South Africa captain Faf du Plessis wants his side to play a ‘courageous’ brand of cricket at next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, as they look to end their hoodoo at the tournament.
The four-time semi-finalists have famously never reached the final of international cricket’s showpiece event, falling at the last four stage in half of their World Cup campaigns.
It’s a tag that has sat heavy on the shoulders of many South African cricketers over the years, given some of the quality players and teams they have produced.
Du Plessis, who was part of the side that lost to New Zealand in the 2015 semi-final, wants the shackles to be removed from his teammates, and is promoting a courageous style of play at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
“For me, you can see in the current group there is some young, courageous players in there,” said du Plessis.
“I believe that is the way we’ll win the World Cup; to really go there without all the baggage and go ‘these are the most talented and courageous cricketers’ and play a style of cricket that doesn’t limit us from being so mentally challenged by going to a World Cup every time.
“Because, let’s be honest, that’s probably the only hurdle we haven’t overcome is the mental aspect of it. We’ve always been skilfully right up there, just lacking in crucial aspects of the game. That’s why my message is to free players up mentally, try get them to a space where they’re not fearing failing.
“I’ve been involved in two World Cups now where we’ve tried two different approaches, from leading up to the tournament and a mental approach. I certainly have seen the good, the benefits, and bad from both of them.”
If South Africa are going to claim a maiden World Cup title next year, du Plessis thinks strike bowlers will give them their best chance of silverware.
“I think if you look at Pakistan who won the Champions Trophy, your bowling unit is going to play a massive role,” he added.
“We went there [Champions Trophy] with probably the best batting line-up in the world - I think we had four of the top ten batters, so we were feeling very confident in the batting unit we had. But the ability to get wickets in those conditions seemed to be the ten percenter, so that’s why we’re looking at guys who can get you wickets at any stage of a game.
“From a batting point of view, try and have as long a batting line-up as you can. That’s probably why England will call themselves favourites, because they have a very long batting line-up. It’s a little different with our team, we don’t have those guys who are all-rounders.”
Du Plessis confirmed veteran paceman Dale Steyn was in the plans for next year’s tournament but admitted there is still a spot up for grabs for another fast bowler.
“Yes I do,” said du Plessis when asked whether he saw Steyn featuring in South Africa’s World Cup plans. “We probably need one more fast bowler. You probably need three fast bowlers in your squad, over the next two series, we’ll see who grabs that opportunity.”
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