Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis believes form and confidence will count for everything Down Under.
After smashing Australia 5-0 in their ODI tour of South Africa, the Proteas captain looks to keep confidence levels up when they take on Australia in the three-match Test series.
‘Confidence definitely plays a role,’ he said. ‘The most important thing for me is that the players are in form. No matter what the format, if you are in form you feel confident and that is something amazing to take over to Australia.’
Du Plessis believes that the hiding they dished out will live long in the memory of the Australian players, and they need to try to emulate the winning mentality they displayed in that series.
‘To beat Australia the way we did, really convincingly and not giving them a sniff, will leave a bit of a scar on them mentally,’ Du Plessis said. ‘I also appreciate that a Test team is a different team, and probably a more mature team, but if we can start really well in that first Test match to remind them that we are in the same space as a Test team, we will have a really good tour.’
Du Plessis spoke out about the difference in aggression between the current bunch of Australian players compared to those he has faced in previous encounters. He also mentioned the constructive aggression the Proteas have shown, and how it has improved their team chemistry as well as their performances.
‘When I first started playing against Australia, the guys were the toughest team to play against because of their personalities. They were guys that competed by being verbal,’ du Plessis said. ‘If you look at the Australian team now, their personalities have changed. They don’t have those aggressive guys that are at you the whole day, swearing the whole day. We play a similar brand of cricket now. We are very competitive but we respect each other’s personal space.’
Despite the dominate performance showed by the Proteas, Du Plessis mentions that he is aware of the high expectations leading into the Test series against the Aussies. He remains realistic in saying that the 5-0 win does not determine an inevitable winning outcome for SA and that the team needs to approach the series as a brand-new task.
‘People’s expectation will be of us going there and dominating Australia again but that’s not the case. We’ve had an amazing series, which has been the highlight of a lot of our careers, but we go to Australia on a blank slate,’ he said. ‘The guys are confident but it’s not just going in guns blazing and thinking we can dominate them. We will have to earn that right again.’