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June 10, 2019

Faf du Plessis

Southampton, England, UK

South Africa - 29-2, West Indies - did not bat

Match abandoned due to adverse weather

Q. Is that one point gained or one point lost?
FAF DU PLESSIS: The horse is out the shed if that's the right wording (smiling). We wanted to play a full game today. I think it's pretty obvious that when you play a team like the West Indies you want to play a full 100-over game. Just the make-up of their side. So it's disappointing the fact we didn't get a game.

It is important for us to get cricket and start ticking over, but we can't control the weather so, as a team, taking one point. Now we move forward to the next week.

Q. Could you tell us your thoughts on Hashim Amla going forward and how is he handling it?
FAF DU PLESSIS: He is back there (points to Amla doing shuttle runs in the indoor nets) so maybe we should call him in (smiling). Hash is a class player. It is tough on a wicket like that starting, opening up the innings. You need a bit of luck to go your way. And if you get through that first 10, 15 overs, that is when the scores come.

We have seen over the last game and today that the first ten overs can be a little bit tricky, there is more pace and bounce in the wicket and the nature of it. You do lose wickets.

So, yeah, he will be disappointed he got out today, but he has been hitting the ball really well in the nets so we just are hoping it's around the corner for him. He played a really good innings leading up to the two games, leading up to the World Cup, against the West Indies when they were bowling quick pace.

So like most of our batters, it's a case of getting in and getting the starts converted into runs. There's two phases of what's been disappointing in the batting; a lot of starts and also a few guys looking to get started.

Q. You obviously wanted a full game then, but at 20-odd for two and with having to stay off the field for that long, the longer you were off the field the situation works more in their favour. So as the rain keeps falling, do you find yourself getting in a situation where you would rather stay off and take the point?
FAF DU PLESSIS: Yeah, I think the nature of... generally when you are chasing it always favours the team batting second, you know, the nature of... We batted seven overs, they are not expecting a shortened game so the pace that you go at and then losing two wickets, so then...

Even with, around in my mind, when I was looking at 30, 35 overs, I was still feeling like if you get a score of 200, you know, 200 plus, I do feel there was enough in that wicket with our bowling attack, especially playing Beuran today as well, an extra seamer.

You are right, the further the game goes, the closer to a T20 game, being two down already, the odds are heavily in their favour. So as it got a bit later in the day, then you'd rather get the point and go.

Q. Can you give us an update on the state of your hand, please? What exactly is wrong with it and how bad is it?
FAF DU PLESSIS: No, no, it's fine. Just got hit on the dodgy finger, the crooked one. It's fine. I batted yesterday. Got peppered in the nets. Got hit on the shoulder. Got hit on the knee. So I was ready for all the West Indian pace-men today.

Q. How do you feel, now you have got five cup finals to play in before the end of this tournament?
FAF DU PLESSIS: Yeah, it's as simple as. We are in this position because we haven't played our best cricket so we don't deserve to be anywhere close to the top of the log. It is very clear for us as a team we need to be at our best and we need to play well in the next five games.

We have got Afghanistan next which are also a dangerous team. We need to start playing better cricket, more consistent and more solid cricket. If we do that, and the results start one by one happening, then this team will get a lot of confidence from that for the later stages.

Q. How do you get that confidence? How do you pick a team up that's started so poorly?
FAF DU PLESSIS: It's performance. You need individuals within your side to stand up and step up and pull the team up, you know. One guy getting a great hundred. You know KG did that against India as a small part of a role in a game. He picked the bowling unit up by just being the X-factor player that he is, so right now, we need individuals to stand up and step up to lift the team's morale. If you get that going, then other players can feed off their confidence.

Q. KG spoke yesterday about all the stuff that's been going on around the team and saying how it's important to clear the heads a bit. Do you think that that was the case today? Were there clear heads going in? If so, how will you sustain that? If not, what do you still need to clear out?
FAF DU PLESSIS: No, there's nothing else to be cleared out. I do honestly feel as a team we are... The feeling in the camp is still very strong, you know. The guys are still enjoying being on tour, enjoying being here. The guys are having fun. It is just performance-wise we haven't put in the performances we need and, generally, I find that when a team starts losing two or three games, it can happen that there's a few cracks that can appear in a team and the blame game can start.

And I do honestly believe that we have been very far away from that. That is a strong sign of us as a team, as a culture, and that is one aspect of performance. You get culture and then you get the actual performance on the field.

So, yeah, a very good, positive sign that everything seems in tact when it comes to that. But now it is just the performance and the skill side of cricket that needs to take over.

Q. Lungi seemed to be bowling nearly at full tilt ahead of the toss today. You have another four or five days to go until the next game. Will he be ready for that one? If so, how big a factor will that be?
FAF DU PLESSIS: We wanted him to be ready for today purely from the fact it feels every game is a must-win game for us at the moment. With Lungi, the amount of bowling that he's been doing this tournament, he hasn't bowled a lot and then he picks up an injury and it is probably on the verge of can he and can't he play? So the pure fact that he hasn't really bowled a lot of overs. We just feel like it is more important for him to just have another three or four days to build-up his loads again so he can bowl eight, nine, ten overs.

And luckily for us today there wasn't a lot of cricket so we can throw him straight into the game the next game.

Q. You mentioned the culture of the team and that you are still feeling all very unified and strong in that. How much did the news over the weekend about AB, did that shake the team at all, or do you feel that maybe it's the sort of thing that can actually unite the team?
FAF DU PLESSIS: I think a little bit of both. I think to say no, it didn't, or to say yes, it did, unites us as a team. We do feel like the news came in and like went through the team. It didn't have a huge impact. There was just a discussion on clarity and on making sure everyone knows what's going on and then it was moving on.

The team was happy to get on with business. But it is stuff like that generally you feel like it can make you, give you direction in your team and give you purpose to focus on what lies ahead.

Q. When AB came to you in the IPL and he expressed his desire to still be part of the team, or maybe go to the World Cup, what was your initial reactions? What did you tell him and what did you discuss with Ottis?
FAF DU PLESSIS: He didn't come to me. It was just a conversation, a phone call the night before the team got announced. It was just a "This is what I'm feeling." I said to him, "I think it is too late but I will check in with the coach and the selectors the next morning to get their opinion on it as the squad was already announced or picked." But that day there was the announcement. When I spoke to the coach and the selectors the next day, they all agreed that it was way, way too late to change the team on 99.99.

Q. Sorry, to follow up on that. AB spoke to you in the IPL about that?
FAF DU PLESSIS: Yeah, a phone call.

Q. The log table will start to look a lot clearer over the next couple of games in terms of who are the front-runners in terms of those semifinal spots. Is that on the minds of players, administrators, calculations, permutations?
FAF DU PLESSIS: It is too far away. Right now for us we need to focus on our performance. If we can get our performance sorted out, our skills, our confidence back up where it needs to be and you can start getting on a roll of two or three games, you can only really look at those things when it comes to the last week of the tournament.

Naturally, when you are in a tournament like this I suppose you, us as the team at the bottom part of the log, you want the top team to keep winning to make sure there is a little bit of a breathing room for the other two or three teams, so you keep an eye on other results maybe in that aspect. But it's obviously really out of their control.

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