The AB de Villiers saga has not had a big impact on the Proteas team but it could give them the extra push they need to perform the near-impossible task of reaching the World Cup semi-finals, according to the captain, Faf du Plessis.
The washout against the West Indies has put South Africa belatedly on the scoreboard with one point, and the situation ahead of their clash with Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday remains much the same – they have to win the remaining five matches and hope the other results fall their way as well.
Having given his side of the De Villiers unretiring story and largely tying in with the revelations from coach Ottis Gibson and convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, as well as confirming that he and AB are still friends, Du Plessis said he hoped the bombshell will help galvanise the team.
“I feel like we allowed the news to come into the camp and then go through quickly, there wasn’t any huge impact. From the management point of view it was just about giving them clarity and making sure they all knew what was going on, and then moving on. But hopefully it can give the team some more direction and purpose,” Du Plessis said in Southampton.
As far as the permutations go for the tournament – which is still only one-third of the way through after Game 16 between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Bristol on Tuesday was also washed out – it is still too early to really go much further than saying South Africa have to win every game from now to have any chance of reaching the semifinals.
“Every game for us is a must-win and the permutations are really too far away. We need to focus on our own performance and get that sorted out. But as a team at the bottom of the log, we want the teams in the top two to keep winning because that creates breathing room for us,” Du Plessis said.