South Africa’s middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen maintains that the mood in the Proteas camp remains upbeat, writes DANIEL GALLAN in London.
This, despite miserable weather looming outside the team hotel in Cardiff and the dire situation that the side find themselves in after three defeats and a no-result in the Cricket World Cup.
‘It’s contradictory,’ Van der Dussen said. ‘We’ve had one bad week. That is the reality. We have five games to go that we’re seeing as five quarter-finals. We know what we need to do and we’re confident and positive.’
South Africa begin their quest to enter the semi-finals through the back door on Saturday when they take on Afghanistan in the Welsh capital. Rain is forecast in the morning, but with the game being a day-night affair, we should see some cricket. Not that Van der Dussen is worried about the things he cannot control.
‘You can’t spend too much time worrying about the weather,’ he said. ‘I keep things simple and prepare for the unexpected. I just have to produce the goods on match day.’
Van der Dussen fielded questions concerning AB de Villiers and how things may have panned out had the former Proteas captain not retired from international cricket. Van der Dussen was honest in saying that he would likely have been the man to miss out, but made a strong case for himself.
‘Do I have to replace AB? No, don’t feel I have to. Can I play a match-winning innings for my country? I believe I can. Is that what he did? Yes it is. The AB story hasn’t had as big of an affect on me as people would like to believe.’
In 13 ODIs, the 30-year-old fluent Lions stroke-maker has scored 466 runs at 66.57. He has shown glimpses of his pedigree in the World Cup with scores of 50 against England and 41 against Bangladesh. He is confident that he has more to offer.
‘If I’m at my best, I can put in a match-winning performance for my team. It doesn’t matter who the opposition is. Of course there is pressure. There is pressure on any international sportsman. I know it’s a big occasion and that I’m in the spotlight. But I draw on my experience and the experience of the team. I’m loving my World Cup experience.’
– Gallan is a freelance sportswriter based in London, follow him on Twitter: @danielgallan
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images