Faf du Plessis says the Proteas will be giving youngsters a chance in the ODI series against India.
Mission 2019 is definitely in the Proteas’ minds. The preparation begins with India, who are second in the ICC ODI rankings, with South Africa first.
The Proteas will be hungry for a series victory, but their intention to discover their best XI for the World Cup could prevent them from achieving that.
Du Plessis revealed their plans to give more players opportunities despite the desire to beat India.
‘You have to, you have to,’ said Du Plessis when asked whether he’s thinking about the World Cup. ‘But it is hard. I’ve always been of the belief that you play every game as hard as you can and you do everything to win a game of cricket.
‘But I do feel like we’re a little bit more focused on two years’ time now. If you say that, you have to give yourself a little bit of allowance. Because by doing that, you are not always playing your best teams and when you’re playing against strong teams, you always want to play your strongest team.
‘But I think we’ll give some opportunities for young guys to come through in this series.’
The Proteas skipper admitted that, despite their immediate focus on the first ODI, there is a clear vision that focuses on World Cup preparation.
‘I think our mindset has changed, we have always been focused on the now. And when you get to the big tournament like you mentioned, that becomes your focus as well,’ said Du Plessis.
‘I feel this is the first time when we have really taken a small step into the now and bigger step into the future where we are trying to see. This is the first time every conversation we have as a selection panel, captain or coach, is about how we could have a look at more players.
‘Personally I haven’t been involved in a vision like that, so obviously it shows you that we are – obviously the now is very important and we play series to win series – but there’s a big focus on how we could give guys a lot of opportunity.
‘In a year or so from now you want to make sure that there is a group of guys that has spent time in the middle in pressure situations, so you hope that your XI is settled at the time.’