South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has urged his teammates to avoid doing “Superman things” and instead focus on overcoming the “fear of failure” ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup beginning May 30.
South Africa have a reputation of losing big matches which has earned them the label of chokers. The Proteas are yet to reach the finals of the World Cup having been knocked out at the semi-final stage four times in the past.
“In previous World Cups, we wanted to do Superman things. We thought we had to be more special, we had to do something more than we usually do, and we did not do what was good enough before,” Du Plessis was quoted as saying by the ICC.
“We haven’t always got that right in the past, to play our best cricket at the World Cup, because we put so much pressure on ourselves. We want to just focus on enjoying our cricket,” he added.
Du Plessis, who will be competing in his third One-Day International World Cup, stressed on the need to be mentally prepared for the tournament which will be imperative for the team’s success in England.
“There’s a reason why we want the guys to play freely - because we don’t want them to have a fear of failure, which is what the World Cup is for some of them.
“Our success in England over the next couple of months depends on how well we release that aspect of our play - we need that for the team to be at our best. Each player needs to find out his own strengths,” he said.
The 34-year-old hopes to draw on his own experiences to help his teammates grapple with the pressure of the high-intensity tournament.
“We started a year or two ago with a real focus on mental preparation and, as a captain, I probably speak more about that than previous captains. But I really believe it’s an area we can get better in. I’ve been there and I know the pressures, I understand how to deal with them.”
Seven members of South Africa’s squad, including du Plessis, were part of the 2015 World Cup campaign, when they were knocked out of the semi-finals by eventual runners up, New Zealand.
South Africa will take on hosts England in the opening game of the World Cup on May 30 at Kennington Oval in London.