The Standard Bank Proteas’ amazing 5-0 series whitewash of Australia in the recent ODI series was all down to teamwork and composure, according to captain Faf du Plessis. “Obviously we didn’t expect to win 5-0, so that’s very special. But after we went 3-0 up it was important for us to not take our feet off the gas and this group of guys went all out to make a statement.
“Whenever Australia would come back into a game the guys were nice and composed, we’d wait for our opportunity and take it, taking the momentum on to our side. It was an incredible team effort and it made me proud to be captain. The greatest thing is that we played as a team right through the series and different guys put up their hands all the way through, which is what you want as captain,” Du Plessis said.
“Our fans can relax because lady luck was on our side. There was a lot of expectation from our supporters and a few changes throughout the series, but you can see that we have enough talent in the team that’s diverse. We are confident that we can still be very competitive as a unit. The best thing is that it’s now all in the open, there’s honesty about it and everyone can buy into it and we can move forward,” Du Plessis said. Even though every player produced an important contribution at some stage, there were obviously some standout performers.
The return of Rilee Rossouw was a major highlight and he was a well-deserved winner of the man of the series award, scoring 311 runs and being dismissed for less than 50 just once.
“It’s a privilege to be named man of the series because you never know how many times more you’re going to play for South Africa. I’m just happy that I got given a run and thanks to Hashim Amla for falling sick for the first game!
“I hope I’ve had a little bit of an impact on the selectors’ minds and I’ll definitely be going to Australia now with a lot of confidence. I’ve just been seeing the gym more often than not this year, first because of a stress fracture in my foot and then when I dived for a ball and dislocated my shoulder, so to get the hundred in Cape Town had me overcome with joy and emotion, pride and relief,” Rossouw said.
David Miller, who produced one of the great ODI innings in the series-clinching win in Durban, and JP Duminy were excellent in the middle-order and have shored up those positions.
It was generally a series dominated by the bat, but South Africa’s bowlers were also tidy, sticking to their tasks well under pressure, and showing they have some handy wicket-taking options.
It would be grossly unfair not to praise coach Russell Domingo, who started the season facing severe criticism, for his role in the brilliant displays of the Proteas. “There’s been a huge transition from when we decided to go away and take a hard look at ourselves and the coaches are part of that, they’ve been open to criticism and Russell has really stepped up and is starting to challenge us more now.
“It’s important to know what’s required from us to be at our best and if we keep challenging ourselves in that space then we will keep doing well. Russell is an important part of that and there’s a bit of pressure off the coaching staff now. Pressure is normal when a team does not perform to the standards they should and the coaching staff and players should be accountable,” Du Plessis said.
And when they have done us proud as they have done over the last couple of weeks then they should also be lauded.
Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Sponsorship at Standard Bank commend the Standard Bank Proteas and mentioned that they played like Trojans who go to wage and with their focal point being to win at all costs. This is the #ProteaFire we know and are glad that the team is back on top form where they belong. This is what pride and passion are about for a nation.