Newly named ODI captain, Faf du Plessis says the presence of experienced leaders will be a valuable benefit for him, as he prepares to lead the Castle Lager Proteas in the remainder of the Momentum ODI Series against New Zealand.
He was speaking at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley, where the Proteas trained ahead of the second Momentum ODI on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a nice surprise,” an excited du Plessis said about the captaincy. “Luckily not too long ago I was the captain of the T20 side so it’s still fresh. We obviously have a nice group of experienced players who weren’t there in the T20’s and I have the likes of Graeme (Smith) and Hashim (Amla) who are great leaders to assist me.”
The absence of AB de Villiers leaves a gaping hole worth 133 ODI’s in the Proteas’ middle order, but this is a good opportunity for the reserve batsmen, Farhaan Behardien and David Miller to test their skills and impress if they are selected to play.
“You cannot replace AB (de Villiers), he is one of the world’s best batsmen, he will leave a huge gap,” du Plessis said. “It is however an opportunity for someone else to step in, and for us to look at our options going forward especially with the ICC Champions Trophy ahead.”
De Villiers stressed the fact that the squad was nowhere near their full potential after Saturday’s loss, and the incumbent captain feels the pressure of having to win the last two games is a challenge the squad can fulfil.
“It’s a nice pressure, I think it will suit us,” he said. “ Maybe we were a little bit relaxed in the first game and so we have to play close to our full potential for us to beat them, they are a dangerous one-day side.”
The average score batting first at the ground is 230, with teams batting second averaging around 300. Sri Lanka proved this last season when they chased down 300 with five wickets down, and du Plessis hopes tomorrow’s conditions will yield another high scoring match.
“It’s been a while since we have had a run fest in the ODI’s,” he said. “I hope it’s a good one-day wicket where we can get a lot of runs on the board, and if they bat first we can chase it really well.”