World Cups have become synonymous with heartbreak for South African cricket sides.
At the ICC World T20 in 2014 the Proteas fell short in the semifinal to eventual winners India and then there was the devastation of losing to New Zealand in the semifinals of the 50-over showpiece last year.
But, as T20 captain Faf du Plessis explains it’s about putting those lessons to good use as he gears up to lead the 15-man squad for the World T20 event which begins in India next month.
“For me it’s about performing under pressure because that’s what it’s going to take to win it. The majority of the squad is from those games so they would have learned a lot from those pressure moments and this is I think the strongest squad we’ve taken to a World Cup,” Du Plessis said at the announcement of the squad this week.
But the intention is very clear.
“To win it as simple as that,” said Du Plessis.
There weren’t too many surprises when the list of names was read out but cases could be made for the likes of all-rounder Albie Morkel, his brother Morne, who in fairness hasn’t played too much short format cricket of late, and spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
“That’s the nature of having a quality cricketing country. You’re going to have guys missing out who feel very unlucky,” Du Plessis said.
The skipper also feels that the inclusion of Dale Steyn, still on the mend after injury, is a big plus for the Proteas. The fast bowler is in line to make a return in a club game later this month before taking part in the three T20 internationals against Australia next month.
“Dale hasn’t played a lot of cricket lately but I know what he brings to the party. I think he’s going to be very hungry. He’s at that stage of his career where he wants to show the world why he is such a good bowler. I think we’re going to see a great Dale Steyn during this World Cup.
“He’s obviously playing the games against Australia to see if he’s fit which we’re hoping he is because we know he is a big player for us.”
But it’s going to take a big effort from each member of the personnel if the Proteas are going to finally bring home a trophy but Du Plessis feels they’ve got the right men for the job.
“We’re not going in light with anything. We’re not light with the batting, not light with the bowling, we’re a very strong balanced team.”