Faf du Plessis bats in the nets in Southampton on Tuesday ahead of the crunch match against India. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

LONDON – Faf du Plessis is getting the hairdryer out.

The Proteas captain is gatvol with the way his team is performing at this World Cup. The defeat to Bangladesh was the last straw.

“If the guys think they can make excuses, then they will be challenged. That’s a fact,” Du Plessis said sternly.

“Certainly, from my style of captaincy, there has always been a line, and if you don’t perform to that line, then there are a lot of harsh words.

“I’m certainly not ‘Mr Nice Guy’.”

All the screaming and shouting in the world is not going to change the fact the Proteas simply aren’t playing very well at the moment.

All three disciplines are an issue.

In addition, they have an injury list as long as the M3 the Proteas used to travel from London to this port city on Monday.

Du Plessis is, though, not pulling punches.

He wants to hear nothing about injuries, even if it severely hampering South Africa’s chances with Dale Steyn (shoulder) going home, and now also Lungi Ngidi (hamstring) on the sidelines.

“At the moment, it’s a skill thing. Our skill is not where it needs to be. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with – as I said, injuries, you can make excuses, as many as you want. We know we’re not good enough at the moment, and we have to turn it around,” Du Plessis said.

“Every single player in our dressing room is not playing to their full potential, and that’s why we’re not putting the performance on. As soon as that starts happening, then those things will change.

“Every player on the team can say that.

“None of us have been on top of your game yet, so it’s just about making sure you look at yourself in the mirror and see how you can find that answer.”

The turnaround required, starting against India on Wednesday at the The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, will now have to be achieved with altogether different strategy.

Gone is the all-pace onslaught. There are simply not enough fast bowlers to call on.

Du Plessis now has to take out a new playbook.

“Plan ‘A’ is gone. It’s gone because the Plan ‘A’ was to have all our fast bowlers bowling at the same time, and then we do have a very good bowling attack.

“They haven’t played a game together on this tour. Initially Plan ‘B’ was that Anrich Nortje was an extra pace bowler that we had lined up for if we had an injury, to have another X-factor bowler that can bowl 145-plus. He got injured, as well.

“So, now you’re moving into your all-rounder territory.

“We have to really look at what we can do to try to be effective. Is it playing the all-rounders together, or do we play two spinners?

“Now it’s reshuffling all our cards to see how best we can deal with it.”

Du Plessis will hope there’s a joker in his pack, for South Africa need something special to get out of this almighty hole they find themselves in.

@ZaahierAdams


Cape Argus

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