They have lost their first two matches. Dale Steyn, their talismanic fast bowler, has gone home with a recurrence of his long-standing shoulder injury. And du Plessis has felt the need to make sure his colleagues are in the right mental state for their next match against India, on Wednesday 5 June, at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
“So, for myself, it’s really important to stay strong,” he said on the eve of the match. “The team will feed off my energy, and they will look up to the leadership group in the team. But I’m at the top of that, so it is important that I stay positive, I stay strong, make sure I keep motivating the guys.”
South Africa have a lot to do to come back from the defeats against England and Bangladesh, but their captain has the same target as before. “The nature of this tournament, you can see there is a lot of teams that are challenging each other on any different day. So there is still hope for us,” he said.
“We have a lot of cricket left. Before we got here it was like six games, that’s almost the par of what you want to try and get. So, for now, it’s me really staying strong and positive, and making sure that the team feeds off that.
“Naturally, guys will have a little bit of confidence that’s been chucked away and that is normal, that is part of being human. But it’s just making sure that we keep strong, keep fighting, and stay true to ourselves as a team and a culture. I said six games is the target, so with seven games left, it would be great if we can start that tomorrow. There’s no easy games anymore in a World Cup.”
Du Plessis also stressed that it was on the rest of the team to ensure they support Steyn. “It is important for us to be strong for him,” said du Plessis. “Dale has struggled really hard to get back into the team.
“It’s been a tough two-year, two-and-a-half years for him, and he would need support right now. It’s important that us as the team and the management make sure there’s things in place for him to assist him, to be there for him. He needs love at the moment.”
Article source: https://www.cricketworldcup.com/news/en/1235385