Du Plessis: Pakistan won't be a walkover


Proteas captain Faf du Plessis insisted that Pakistan would not roll over and play dead in their upcoming series.

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis insisted that Pakistan would not roll over easily in their upcoming series, adding that every match his men play from here on in will be seen as a dress rehearsal for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, which gets underway in a little more than three months.

Apart from this two-match hit-out against the side they had just clinically dismantled in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa have only a three-match T20 series against Australia in March to cross their t's and dot their i's.

"It is a big series for us as it is a stepping stone for where we want to be in a couple of months' time," said du Plessis.

Admittedly Pakistan should pose less of a threat because of the void that was left by Mohammad Irfan.

The tall left-armer sustained a hip injury during the last meeting between the sides in Dubai and was replaced by Anwar Ali who has only two wickets to show from the three T20Is he has played for his country.

Heading into Wednesday's contest in Johannesburg, du Plessis and his bowlers will be reminded of just how far Shahid Afridi can hit the ball – the Pakistan legend blasted a 110 metre six off Ryan McLaren at the Bullring in March – while they need no reminder of how small the margin for error in the blitz format of the game is.

"Pakistan will never be a walk-over," du Plessis insisted.

"They are a quality team. Obviously we have been playing really good cricket in the UAE and we've always put them under pressure, but they can be very dangerous on the day and we saw last year at Centurion when we played that once-off T20 that they were excellent."

ODI captain AB de Villiers shared the views of his T20 compatriot as his team prepares for a five-match series.

De Villiers highlighted that it was important for both units to continue showing improvement following an uncharacteristically poor period with the bat in particular.

He also hinted that the evergreen Jacques Kallis' return to the 50-over squad was imminent, adding that the all-rounder would bring a new dimension to their bowling attack.

For De Villiers though, the reality check he and his fellow batsmen had just received had a unifying effect on the team as nearly the entire top order were forced to do some soul searching on tour.

"We represent a very proud cricketing nation and we were not playing up to the standard," De Villiers admitted.

He lauded former coach-turned-consultant, Gary Kirsten, for the "honest" words he had with the senior players and was equally pleased with the way the team responded after failing to step up to the plate in the first two ODIs on tour.

"It came up to a point where realised we are in trouble here as a batting unit," said De Villiers.

"We knew that we were letting the team down and a few heads were probably going to roll if we didn't get it right, so we had to stick together – that was the most important thing."

<b>@Michael_Mentz in Johannesburg</b>