South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis on Sunday (October 13) acknowledged that the difference between his team and the Indian squad in the ongoing Test series has been the “inexperience” of the Proteas as replacing world-class players like Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers is not an overnight job.
The visitors lost the first Test by 203 runs in Visakhapatnam and were thrashed in the second Test by an innings and 137 runs in Pune, already losing the three-match Test series.
“I think, it’s purely a case of inexperience. 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,” a dejected Du Plessis said after losing the series and Gandhi-Mandela Trophy.
“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,” he said.
“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 explained.
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As captain Du Plessis feels that he needs to show the way to the newbies along with 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 (De Kock), we can’t expect other guys to make runs,” he said.
“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,” said Du Plessis, putting across his point clearly.
The batting all-rounder indicated that some decision could be on cards for the top-order 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.
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“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,” the skipper added.
The South African batsman also lauded his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli for his record-breaking double century and called his knock “incredible”.
“Virat’s knock was incredible. Surprised that he started slow, normally he is quite busy and gets off quite well. He was quite patient at 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 brainpower. You can see that, and you can only admire from a distance,” Du Plessis concluded.
(With inputs from agencies)