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Can't let the junior players suffer from self-pity: Du Plessis

June 04, 2019 20:21 IST

Faf du Plessis

IMAGE: Faf du Plessis knows how things can go downhill after a string of poor performances. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

'Murphy's Law' is an adage that fits aptly with the condition of the South African cricket team -- "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".

South Africa have lost the first two games and in a space of 24 hours, their premier pacer Dale Steyn has been ruled out of World Cup with a shoulder injury while another fast bowler Lungi Ngidi is nursing a Grade 1 hamstring injury.

 

It's worse than a nightmare but letting the youngsters in the team wallow in self-pity is the last thing skipper Faf du Plessis would want ahead of their crucial game against world No 2 India.

Du Plessis said he is addressing the situation with some strong worded message to the junior players.

"For me, the natural thing that happens in a team is you find that your confidence goes down and naturally younger guys in the team, coming to their first World Cup, they will potentially go into their self-pity cycle. So, for me, it was strong words in the sense that that won't be allowed over the next couple of days," Du Plessis said on the eve of their match against India.

"It is important for us to stay strong at this time. If you do slightly go away from that, then as a team you can crumble and, unfortunately, we are not in a position where we can afford that," the skipper added.

For him, controlling the controllable is paramount and he is precisely trying to do that in his bid to ensure six wins out of next seven games.

"We can't control results. We can't control the outcome of the game. What we can control is how strong we are mentally. How well we are training. What sort of language are we using in the dressing room. Is it positive?"

Having been around long enough, Du Plessis knows how things can go downhill after a string of poor performances.

"For me, that was the main focus...making sure that the guys are still saying the right things in the team, not questioning themselves because then it's a slippery slope. Then you are just keep going further and further backwards," the 34-year-old said.

Du Plessis knows that for a few players in his team, the Wednesday's game is the biggest of their lives and he wants them to fight back.

"Naturally, what happens is that you have to manage people's confidence because that's the thing, especially after the last game. As professional cricketers, we want to do well and win games.

"That is important that we don't go take a left turn into negative town (smiling). Stay positive, stay strong and make sure that we keep pushing. But we are playing probably the world No. 2 team at the moment, or tomorrow, and then it's going to be a huge challenge," said du Plessis.

He admitted that with Beuran Hendricks arriving only tomorrow, he will have even lesser options, with only 13 players, to pick from.

"We will have to re-look at that now. There's only 14 (13) players to pick from now, so there's not a lot of options in terms of the bowling attack. Obviously, this ground -- I don't think spinners played that big a role," rued du Plessis.

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