South Africa captain Faf du Plessis on Sunday acknowledged that the difference between his team and India in the ongoing Test series has been the “inexperience” of the Proteas.
South Africa were thrashed by 203 runs in the first Test and lost by an innings and 137 runs in the second Test at Pune to concede the series. “I think, it’s purely a case of inexperience,” Du Plessis said.
“I said before this Test series, your best Test teams are the teams with the most experience. When it comes to this Indian team, there’s a lot of experience in that dressing room, there’s a lot of Test matches behind their names.”
He added, “We are at this stage where we have lost almost all of our experience. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers – all of them were seasoned campaigners. You don’t replace those guys overnight.
“And now it’s a new group of guys, who have played 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15 Test matches. That will take time. If you take the best players out of any team, they would find the same challenges.”
Du Plessis conceded that, as captain, he needs to show the way along with senior players Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar.
“For us, it is important as a senior player group to make sure that we put in performances ourselves. Myself, Deano, Quinny...we can’t expect other guys to make runs.
“We need to make sure we make the runs first and then the others guys to chip in with us. In a time like this, it is important that your big guys really, really take control and make sure that they put in the bulk of the work.”
Du Plessis indicated that some tough decisions could be on the cards for the batting unit, which has now failed in three out of the four innings.
“The batting failed in the first innings and from the starting point of view, we have not started well. Every single innings, we have been in a position where we have been 40 or 50 for three. It’s a vital component as how you start in the sub-continent,” he said.
“India could be a tough place to play if you lose form. And perhaps it is a good opportunity to get some fresh heads into the team. Just from my mental point of view, it can be a place for you like, where’s my next one (hundred) going to come from.”
Du Plessis lauded his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli’s double hundred. “Virat’s knock was incredible. Surprised that he started slow, normally he is quite busy and gets off quite well. He was quite patient in the beginning, which was required in the wicket, he left well. And then, sheer mental toughness to bat for that long. It takes huge amount of brain power. You can see that, and you can only admire from a distance.”