Cape Town - Proteas captain, Faf
du Plessis, has confirmed they will pick the strongest possible XI with their
eye on history in the fifth Momentum One-Day International (ODI) against
Australia at Newlands on Wednesday.
Temba Bavuma was brought in as batting
cover for the three batsmen, Rilee Rossouw (finger), Farhaan Behardien
(hamstring) and David Miller (groin), under an injury cloud, but all three have
passed their respective fitness tests and will be available for selection.
The Proteas lead the series 4-0, and
are on the brink of becoming the first team in history to inflict a whitewash
against Australia in a five-match ODI series.
“Everyone is fit, which is great,”
Du Plessis said at Newlands on Tuesday.
“It gives us an opportunity to once
again look at playing our strongest XI. Kyle (Abbott) put up his hand in the
previous game so it’s difficult to leave a guy out when he puts in a
performance like that.
“The great thing is it looks like
most of the guys have passed their fitness tests,” he said.
“Rilee with his
finger, Farhaan had a hamstring injury which seems fine and even David Miller
looks like he is possibly fit to play. The only guy with a slight niggle is
Shamsi and if it doesn’t get better it is not worth the risk to play him with
the Test matches coming up in Australia.”
“It’s great to have Temba here,” he
added. “It means that the selectors are looking at him and that he is next in
line. His hundred against Ireland has put him one or two places ahead of
someone in the mix.”
Du Plessis has the opportunity to
achieve what no other South African captain has achieved, and as a relatively
new leader in this format, admits he is driven to lead from the front on and
off the field. He believes the squad has developed its own brand and identity
which has come through in their dominant performances throughout the series, a
team ethos led by continuously challenging his players to perform at their
“ I think there is a general
belief in the squad,” he said.
“The direction of the team is on a different
path. The individuals don’t think it’s an individual game anymore and if at any
stage they do think that they will get challenged, that is why the team is
doing so well. The squad is in a good place, the guys are extremely hungry to
perform and that makes it easy to captain.
“It’s important for me to keep
driving that,” he said of the culture. “That is something I try to live every
day in this team, to make sure that I do challenge guys to try and get better,
to try and put in performances for this team that will make us a great team.”
The match is scheduled to start at
13h30 local time.