South Africa’s success on their Indian tour to date has prevented the potential side-effects that can creep in on a long tour away from home, says Faf du Plessis.
As the Proteas prepare for their biggest challenge of the tour – the four-match Test Series – they do so with rested bodies and refreshed minds, key weapons at the halfway mark of the contest.
What has helped is that we have been winning,’ Du Plessis said. ‘If we were on the other side of the coin my answer would have been different. The guys are fresh; good performances naturally put you in a good space mentally. But we do know that this will be an extremely hard series. As a team we aren’t thinking that because we have won the T20 and ODI series, the next one will just happen.’
The lean Test calendar and the washed out series against Bangladesh has fuelled the desire for the squad, who will be put to their fiercest test since reclaiming the status as the No 1 ranked Test team in the world.
‘Playing India in India is probably the hardest challenge,’ Du Plessis said. ‘What has helped us on this tour is that we have played really good cricket, we have a lot of confidence but we understand that Test cricket is still going to be the hardest challenge.
‘We are really hungry to play Test cricket, there has been a shortage of Test cricket for us. We have been No 1 for a period of time so we look forward to playing in this format because you are seen as the best, and there is a lot of pride that comes with that.’
Du Plessis was the second-highest run-scorer behind AB de Villiers in the ODI series, and hopes to transfer the same application to the longer format.
‘For me personally, I will be focusing on what works in India,’ he explained. ‘The conditions will get a bit more extreme with the reverse-swinging ball and the ball spinning a bit more. It’s about covering those situations of the game in your preparation, be it having a tight defence or scoring options against different bowlers.’