Faf eager to humiliate Aussies further


South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has confirmed they will pick the strongest possible XI with their eye on history in the fifth ODI against Australia at Newlands on Wednesday.

Temba Bavuma was brought in as batting cover for the three batsmen, Rilee Rossouw (finger), Farhaan Behardien (hamstring) and David Miller (groin), under an injury cloud, but all three have passed their respective fitness tests and will be available for selection.

The Proteas lead the series 4-0, and are on the brink of becoming the first team in history to inflict a whitewash against Australia in a five-match ODI series.

“Everyone is fit, which is great,” Du Plessis said at Newlands on Tuesday. “It gives us an opportunity to once again look at playing our strongest XI.

“Kyle (Abbott) put up his hand in the previous game so it’s difficult to leave a guy out when he puts in a performance like that.

“The great thing is it looks like most of the guys have passed their fitness tests. Rilee with his finger, Farhaan had a hamstring injury which seems fine and even David Miller looks like he is possibly fit to play.

“The only guy with a slight niggle is Shamsi and if it doesn’t get better it is not worth the risk to play him with the Test matches coming up in Australia.”

He added of Bavuma: “It’s great to have Temba here. It means that the selectors are looking at him and that he is next in line. His hundred against Ireland has put him one or two places ahead of someone in the mix.”

Du Plessis has the opportunity to achieve what no other South African captain has achieved, and as a relatively new leader in this format, admits he is driven to lead from the front on and off the field.

He believes the squad has developed its own brand and identity which has come through in their dominant performances throughout the series, a team ethos led by continuously challenging his players to perform at their peak.

Faf said: “I think there is a general belief in the squad. The direction of the team is on a different path.

“The individuals don’t think it’s an individual game anymore and if at any stage they do think that they will get challenged, that is why the team is doing so well.

“The squad is in a good place, the guys are extremely hungry to perform and that makes it easy to captain. It’s important for me to keep driving that.

“That is something I try to live every day in this team, to make sure that I do challenge guys to try and get better, to try and put in performances for this team that will make us a great team.”