Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis says it is time for his team to make a bold statement with performances in the second Test against Australia starting at St George’s Park on Friday.
Du Plessis says the team will continue with the ‘positive’ brand of cricket that has been synonymous with his captaincy reign, a tried and tested formula that has achieved results in the past.
“It is a big game for us,” he said in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. “We have to make sure that our cricket does the talking. We have spoken behind closed doors about the lessons we have learnt and about trying to improve them. It is big for us, we need to make sure we get back into the series 1-1.
“As a captain of the team we don’t look to push that line,” he said. “ We don’t look to find the grey areas. We try to play a positive brand of cricket with good body language and the type of intensity where you look the guy in the eye and you let them know that you are there to play and compete. We are not a team that flirts with that line when it comes to vocals, we want the cricket to do the talking.
“I have a lot of respect for every team that we play against,” he explained. “ The style of play that the team comes with is probably the style of play that they believe they need to play with. When you play against New Zealand, they are the nice guys and are friendly, they don’t believe they need to play like that. They are a team that gets results in the way that they play. We are similar as a team. As a captain I don’t see much value in what you say on the field making an impact on the performances that you do have as a team.”
The captain plays in his 50th Test match for South Africa, joining Hashim Amla (114), AB de Villiers (111) Vernon Philander (51) and Morne Morkel (84) in the current squad to have achieved the feat. The milestone will be the ideal reminder for Du Plessis – and the rest of the senior players – of the importance of making their experience and expertise count in the big moments.
“I will be the first guy to always say that in big series you need your big players to stand up,” he said. “ There is no doubt about the fact that the big players didn’t perform in the first Test and that is the reason why Australia won it. It is that simple for me. It’s not about relying on the youngsters to perform, we need everyone to step up to the plate, especially in big games, but you need your senior players to score the runs.”
The Proteas return to a happy hunting ground in St George’s Park, where they haven’t lost a match since 2007. The Proteas beat Australia by 231 runs the last time the two teams met at the venue in 2014.