Batsman Rassie van der Dussen is eager to see South Africa undo some of the hurt endured during those past early World Cup exits.
The Proteas have not won a World Cup in seven attempts, losing semi-finals in 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015. In 1996 and 2011 they were defeated in the quarter-finals – and 2003 yielded a group stage exit.
‘Having watched previous World Cups and having seen how well the team did at some stages, but just falling short at one of the final hurdles – it will be inspiring to go one step further where the South African teams haven’t gone before,’ said Van der Dussen.
‘Playing with guys like Faf [du Plessis], Dale [Steyn] and JP [Duminy] – guys who have played previous World Cups, I know the sacrifice and hurt they have gone through in those previous World Cups. That’ll definitely inspire me. A World Cup is a time where the whole country gets behind you – and that’s a special feeling for me.’
Van der Dussen has proved successfully consistent since January 2019’s ODI debut against Pakistan at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. The 30-year-old right-hander currently averages 88.25 after eight ODI innings – and has impressed in T20I cricket, too.
‘I have been in fortunate. In sport, you need luck to do well. I’ve worked really hard with my batting coach, Justin Sammons at the Lions, over the last year or two. I’ve just been refining the processes I have out in the middle – and the mental triggers, mental techniques and game plans,’ he added.
‘In that sense, I’ve been fortunate to make my debut late, so I know my game and I know game plans and strategies I want to follow.’
He played for the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the 2018 edition of the Caribbean Premier League, and is looking forward to facing some of the opposition encountered during that tournament, if selected for 10 June’s match against the West Indies in Southampton.
‘Having played in the Caribbean, I came into contact with a lot of West Indies players, so the game against them will be really good. There are a lot of players I have not played against or met, like the Indian players or English players. All the teams are really strong, so it’s going to be a really tough, challenging and exciting World Cup,’ said Van der Dussen.
While Proteas teammate Aiden Markram was playing county cricket, and others such as Du Plessis, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock were at the Indian Premier League during April and half of May, Van der Dussen was part of the Lions’ triumphant CSA T20 Challenge campaign.
‘It helped in that we were keeping on playing. It was not a dull month before the World Cup. We were on the road playing and practising, so that helped with fitness and it helped with keeping the softer batting skills up to par. It helped a lot – and having a few innings before going to the World Cup is valuable,’ he concluded.
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