History of World Cup near misses means nothing, says Du Plessis
May 24 (CRICKETNMORE) - South Africa might have a reputation for struggling on cricket’s biggest stage but skipper Faf du Plessis insists the 2019 tournament is a new chapter for his Proteas charges.
The last time an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup was held on English soil back in 1999, South Africa fell at the semi-final stage in a dramatic collapse against Australia.
Fast forward to 2015 and South Africa were again sent packing at the semi-final stage - this time by New Zealand.
Indeed four times in the 11 editions have South Africa made the final four but never have they advanced to the final.
The South Africa squad for the 2019 edition is made up largely of new faces mixed in alongside some old heads like du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn.
But what has come before is totally irrelevant to the 34-year-old Du Plessis, as he plots his side’s potential path back to the top.
“You can’t control history – I am a firm believer in that,” he said, as he joined nine other skippers the captains’ press conference in London.
“All you can try and focus on is what is ahead, if you are good enough on the day then great, but if the opposition are better on the day then that’s OK.
“The squad that we have here compared to previous tournaments are a lot younger and with those new faces comes exciting opportunities.
“We have some players who are experienced but there is no guarantee that South Africa will come and win. There are ten high quality teams.
“There were some really good signs in how we played at the previous World Cup.
“We played our best cricket towards the end of that tournament, our best game was in the quarter final versus Sri Lanka then we played a good game against New Zealand, who were just better on the day.”
This year’s tournament gets underway in a week’s time with the curtain raiser between England and South Africa at the Oval.
England start as favourites for most observers, the number one side in the ICC world rankings and with a batting line-up that has twice broken the record for the highest ODI total in the last three years.
But according to du Plessis, it is the bowlers and not the batsmen who will have the final say this summer.
“Using the resources of wicket takers is important as captain, it is a pivotal role in making your team is successful," he added.
“I think bowlers will win this tournament. Batters will score runs on good wickets, so the team towards the end will be the team that will have done well with the ball. Teams that can take wickets on flat pitches.
“We have had a year or two of planning and putting game plans together. We are excited for the tournament to start – it has been a long process and we are looking forward to it.”