ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Faf's men bonded by AB's unwelcome distraction
South African captain Faf du Plessis believes controversy surrounding AB de Villiers' comeback bid have given his team a refreshed sense of focus
11 June 2019, 08:08 PM AEST
Faf Du Plessis hopes the controversy over AB de Villiers' attempt to come out of retirement for the World Cup can fuel his side's bid to rescue their campaign.
South Africa's World Cup chances of reaching the next stage of the tournament are getting slimmer after Monday's match against the West Indies was abandoned due to rain in Southampton.
It was the latest blow for South Africa captain Du Plessis, who had presided over three successive defeats before the weather ruined the West Indies game.
Off the field, Cricket South Africa also had to last week respond to reports that former star batsman de Villiers offered to come out of retirement on the eve of the World Cup squad being announced.
Current captain Du Plessis believes the distraction over whether his predecessor should have been selected could actually bring the squad closer together.
"We do feel like the news came into the camp and just went through the team. It didn't have a big impact," Du Plessis told reporters.
"There was a discussion on clarity and making sure everyone knows what's going on.
"But stuff like that can give you direction and purpose, to focus on what lies ahead.
"The squad was already picked. I spoke to the coach and selectors the next day, and we all agreed it was too late to change the team."
Defeat to the West Indies would have left South Africa with almost no chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
But, with five games left, the Proteas are still in danger of their worst World Cup performance and Du Plessis said: "We're in this position because we haven't played our best cricket. We need individuals to stand up.
"We don't deserve to be anywhere close to the top of the table. We need to start playing better cricket, more consistent, more solid cricket."
Du Plessis insisted South Africa still boast good spirit in the wake of their poor performances against England, Bangladesh and India.
"I do honestly feel as a team, the feeling in the camp is still very strong," he said.
"A couple of bad results and cracks can start to appear but that honestly hasn't happened to us.
"In that situation the blame game can start but I do honesty believe we've been very far away from that."
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
Sync Australia's World Cup schedule to your calendar HERE
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE