Southampton: South African skipper Faf Du Plessis is drawing on all his positivity with the hope his team bounce back from two consecutive defeats, but with some of his star players injured he looked a little helpless.
His key bowler Dale Steyn is being flown back after failing to respond to a shoulder injury treatment. Their young and promising pacer Lungi Ngidi has a hamstring strain and will miss the India match. Earlier, another fine pacer Vernon Philander was declared unavailable due to injury. Anrich Nortje, who had originally been part of the World Cup squad, too got ruled out of the tournament with a fractured thumb. Du Plessis is now left with only Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius and Chris Morris. Fortunately, Hashim Amla, who had missed the previous game after being hit by a bouncer on the helmet against England, has been cleared.
His helplessness came to the fore when he lamented that he hasn’t had one game when he had his strongest eleven on the field. The only way out, he noted was to stay strong, positive and motivate the players.
WATCH: South African skipper Faf Du Plessis on how important it is to play positively against India
Du Plessis knows that for a match against a strong team such as India, his team must be at their best. He has now reached a stage where he confessed that winning or losing against India was not the issue, but his main focus would be to reach the semi-finals, and for that, he wants the players in his squad to up their skills.
Before the start of the tournament, Du Plessis had proclaimed that his bowling will be his team’s strong point. Now he has been forced to backtrack from that statement since he has only 14 players in the squad to pick his team. But he still believes that if his players deliver to their potential, his team will be in a good position.
So what can he do as a captain now? While he confessed that he would not be able to control the outcome of a game, all that he believes he can control is strengthening his team mentally, and ensure they train well. And for that he wants his players to be saying the right things in the team and not question themselves just because they are on a slippery slope.
As a truly optimistic skipper, Du Plessis declared that whatever happens, as a senior player he will keep driving his team ahead. At no stage would he want a senior player to make the team feel down and out.
He also made it a point to remind everyone that South Africa is a proud cricketing nation and no matter how bad or good it gets, he will keep driving the game forward.