South Africa: Faf - Life Will Go On If We Don't Win CWC

(file photo).

Oval, London — It is impossible for the Proteas to enter a Cricket World Cup without the mental state of the squad becoming a talking point.

It is understandable, given their history.

When it has mattered most, the Proteas have crumbled at World Cups. The track record is well known.

Winning this trophy is something that has haunted the Proteas for over two-and-a-half decades.

Kepler Wessels, Hansie Cronje, Shaun Pollock, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers have all led South Africa into battle and failed and, in some instances, they entered the tournaments as one of the favourites.

That is not the case in 2019, with all of England, India and Australia more heavily fancied.

None of that matters to Du Plessis, though, and the mantra of this Proteas group is clearly one of not getting caught up in the hype.

It is 'only cricket' and there are more important things in life.

It is a mindset that could across as slightly apathetic, but Du Plessis is looking to take the pressure off his players.

The 'win at all costs' approach has not worked in previous tournaments, and Du Plessis knows that better than anyone.

"Cricket is a very important aspect of all of our lives, but it's not everything," he explained at The Oval on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's opener against England.

"I want to win cricket games, but I don't need to win them.

"As a team, hopefully that can filter through. Nobody told me that five years ago and hopefully it gives the rest of the guys a bit more of a relaxed feel.

"The absolute worst-case scenario is that we don't make it, and that's okay. Life will go on."

Du Plessis spoke of a "calm intensity" that the Proteas have in England and he believes that players will give their best performances if they are relaxed and enjoying their cricket.

"If players are free and can just be the best versions of themselves, then that's great and it's all we're looking for," Du Plessis said.

"It's a case of making sure that we have a really good time together. That's when you are most relaxed. When you're intense and desperate, I think that's when you make mistakes.

"For us it's trying to make sure that we don't go too high or too low when we win or lose.

"We have a calm intensity in our dressing room in terms of the way that we speak.

"If we win tomorrow, we will treat it exactly the same as if we lose tomorrow. That's really important for us to have that same outlook throughout the tournament."

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...


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