South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said his team wouldn’t be looking to do ‘Superman’ things in the World Cup 2019, and instead insisted on the need to do the ‘normal’ consistently.
South Africa have a poor record in World Cup knockout matches over the years, often crumbling under pressure. Du Plessis put that down to trying too hard and adding pressure on themselves.
“In previous World Cups, we wanted to do Superman things,” du Plessis said on Saturday (May 18) ahead of the team’s departure to England.
“We thought we had to be more special, we had to do something more than we usually do, and we did not do what was good enough. We haven’t always got that right in the past, to play our best cricket at the World Cup, because we put so much pressure on ourselves. We want to just focus on enjoying our cricket.
“We believed you had to be really special to win the World Cup, that you had to do something more than you usually do, which is not true. Whatever we’ve been doing consistently, the way we’ve played while beating teams that will work. We have to do the basics as well as possible, teams don’t win the World Cup by someone scoring a century off 50 balls or taking 7 for 20.”
Du Plessis called on each player to find his own strength and play without fear of failure.
“I’ve been there and I know the pressures, I understand how to deal with them. There’s a reason why we want the guys to play freely – because we don’t want them to have a fear of failure, which is what the World Cup is for some of them. Our success in England over the next couple of months depends on how well we release that aspect of our play – we need that for the team to be at our best. Each player needs to find out his own strengths.
“The players relate better to fellow players and I’m on the same level as the coach when it comes to the importance of the mental side. I’m a big believer in positive visualisation, how to remain calm, and I feel it has had value for my own game. So I can relate that to the players, how important it is to be present in the moment; for instance when there’s been a dropped catch, there’s nothing you can do about it and it’s about how you change your mindset to make sure you are still strong mentally.”
South Africa feature in the tournament opener against England at The Oval on May 30.