Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s T20 captain, admits that the three-match T20 series against the West Indies will be largely experimental.
With several senior players being rested and with both JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock injured, the matches are an opportunity to look at new players and reassess others. But it will not have much bearing on the World Cup, he said.
‘You can use T20 to prepare for that tournament if you have the same personnel. With us, it’s difficult to do that because the core of the team will change,’ Du Plessis added. ‘This is more about guys getting an opportunity to play international cricket because if something is going to happen and we need extra players for the World Cup squad, it will come from the guys that are here.’
One such player is Morne van Wyk. The wicketkeeper-opening batsman, who played in the 2011 World Cup, is on standby in case De Kock does not recover in time for the World Cup.
‘Morne is very experienced,’ Du Plessis said. ‘He is a good captain at the Dolphins and the more leaders you have in your group, the better. From a playing point of view, if he gets runs, he looks like the guy that may come in if we need him. Morne hasn’t played for us for a while so it’s also nice for him to see how the set-up has changed.’
South Africa are also looking to Charl Langeveldt, the Cobras coach seconded to the coaching team, to bring his expertise to an area seen as weak: death-bowling.
‘He has been seen as a great death bowler so it’s an opportunity for us to pick his brain,’ Du Plessis said. “We have got a reputation of bringing guys in and credit to Russell Domingo for that. He is not an ego coach. He welcomes help.’
But he also says his team have all-round attributes. ‘Guys like Kagiso Rabada or Marchant de Lange are quite aggressive so they should use that. It’s about your strength as a bowler and what you are best at bowling when you are under pressure.’
West Indies captain Darren Sammy is confident his team will put up a good show.
‘We are a very confident group in T20s, having won the World Cup three years ago in this format. I believe we have some of the best players in the world in this format, and I definitely believe we have an advantage, having played recently in these conditions,’ he said.