Faf du Plessis Name India and England as Favourites for the 2019 World Cup
South Africa National Cricket Team skipper Faf du Plessis, who is concurrently leading the Proteas in the five-match One-day International (ODI) series against Pakistan, maintained hosts England and 2011 World Cup champions India will go as the favourites in the upcoming 2019 World Cup. Meanwhile, the Proteas and Pakistan National Cricket Team is tied at two each with the five-match One-day International (ODI) series decider taking place at Newlands in Cape Town on January 30.
“It is pretty clear that England and India are the two favourites,” du Plessis told Reuters.
The mega event will be played between May 30, 2019, and July 14. In the first-round, the round-robin set-up will witness all ten teams facing off against each other. The top four nations will qualify for the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup.
Concurrently, the Proteas are placed fourth on the ODI team rankings.
Faf du Plessis lowered chances of the Proteas in the 2019 World Cup:
However, the Proteas middle-order batsman Du Plessis has played down the chances of the Proteas in the quadrennial event. It is scheduled to kick off in England and Wales on May 30. He added the team is comprised of youngsters who are equally excited to experience
“We will go with a little bit less pressure on us as a team in terms of the expectation of winning it. We are a young group and the guys are just excited about the opportunity,” du Plessis added.
Interestingly, the Proteas will take on the Three Lions in the opener of the ODI showpiece in London.
Expectations take a toll, feels Faf du Plessis:
Also, in the recent past, South Africa as a team has had been unlucky. It eventually saw their World Cup campaign ending on a sad note by coming close to lay hands on the coveted trophy. Thus, they were termed as ‘chokers’. But this time around they have enough firepower and experience to rely on in English conditions.
“I have felt like we have been guilty of that in the past. And that expectation can (put) a lot of weight on your shoulders,” du Plessis remarked.
In 2015, the Proteas received a jolt during the ICC World Cup when New Zealand and Australia jointly hosted the event. Off the penultimate delivery of the game, Kiwis’ Grant Elliott smashed Dale Steyn for a six in the semi-final clash to pip South Africa in a cliff-hanger.
“I remember going through the process of the previous World Cup (in 2015). Going through the hurt of putting in so much time and energy into trying to win a trophy, and by the end you are absolutely shattered,” du Plessis reminsced.
Owing to the buildup of an event like World Cup, du Plessis reiterated they had a feeling of having a quality unit. However, the game is more about executing things on the field.
“We have gone to tournaments in the past where we have felt like we had the strongest team on paper. But cricket is not played on paper,” du Plessis asserted.
Faf du Plessis on the media hype:
Du Plessis pointed out that opposition doesn’t consider the Proteas as the solid unit, as of now. But it appears to be different while talking about the hype when they represent in the World Cup.
“When opponents look at us now, we are not the strongest team. But when a South Africa team goes to the World Cup, the chat in the media starts, even the opposition starts to chat!” he added.
Apart from the mental challenge, du Plessis urged it becomes vital to cover all the bases. He added they too have been keen to lift the World Cup. He added the players are supposed to give their best.
“Yes, all of us badly want to win a World Cup. But for me as a captain, it is very important to make sure that players don’t try to be supermen to win. They just need to go there and be the best they can be,” du Plessis signed-off.
It is expected that the Cricket South Africa is likely going to include a young crop of cricketers in the coveted squad.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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