South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis believes that the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 will be an excellent opportunity for his country’s ODI squad to match the lofty standards of its Test side, which currently sits on the top of Reliance ICC Test Championship table.
The Proteas have entered every ICC event as one of the title favourites. However, the side’s best result was achieved 15 years ago, when it won the inaugural edition of the ICC Champions Trophy (then called the ICC Knock-Out). Then, it defeated the West Indies in the final in Dhaka.
Du Plessis, who was recently appointed as South Africa’s T20I captain, believes the ICC Champions Trophy provides his side the perfect platform to show the rapid strides it has made recently. He warned, however, that the event will be a tough one and South Africa will have to improve its success rate.
“The ICC Champions Trophy is going to be a really tough tournament. It will bring everyone to a more level playing field,” du Plessis told the ICC Cricket 360 television show in an interview, adding: “There are some really good teams in the competition but we really do need to work hard at our one-day cricket. Our Test team is fantastic at the moment. But if we want to be competing for that final spot in the ICC Champions Trophy, we need to start winning more convincingly.”
The 28-year-old hard-hitting middle-order batsman hopes that South Africa, which is currently engaged in a five-match ODI series against Pakistan, will enter the tournament with a winning momentum. “The series against Pakistan will help us take a lot of confidence into that series (ICC Champions Trophy) because that’s what you need when you get there, as you will rely a lot on momentum.
“You win a game or two and just take that momentum forward. It is also about peaking at the right time, but the key is to build up now,” du Plessis said.
“South Africa has a very good chance at the ICC Champions Trophy. It is something we are really looking forward to. We are putting a lot of emphasis on it now. The key for us will be to be mentally sharp on that tour and hopefully get some momentum with winning the first two or three games.
“We have got a nice team, a good blend of guys. The young guys are really playing well now. We have obviously got the experienced guys with us (too). So it is all looking good,’’ said du Plessis.
Du Plessis is confident that South Africa has an excellent opportunity to end its title drought.
“For the South Africa team, it would be awesome. For us as a team, we have had so many opportunities. We have never really played to our full potential. So, we are really looking forward to getting rid of that curse of the ICC trophy,’’ hoped du Plessis.