South Africa v England, 1st T20, Cape Town February 18, 2016

Preparation more important than results - du Plessis

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'I know what our best team is' - du Plessis

Victories are not the only barometer South Africa will use to measure their readiness for next month's World T20. Instead, their five home internationals - two against England and three against Australia - will act as dress rehearsals for their matches in India, even though conditions and combinations will be completely different.

"If you've got you team for India and try and roll that out in South Africa, it's not always going to right. But it's not always about the best thing for now. It's about looking ahead," Faf du Plessis, South Africa's T20 captain, said.

"For me, the biggest thing is the World Cup, so everything we do is geared around that. If we lose 2-0, it's not ideal for preparation but it's about ticking the stuff we're still working on and making sure you're improving on that. If we've nailed our skills and we win five out of five, that's great. But if it goes the other way it's just about gradually stepping up."

That may mean South Africa will do some unusual things to their game plans - which will be focused on scoring as many runs as possible in the Powerplay and doing a bit more nudging and nurdling later on - and to their XI. At some point, perhaps they will even field two specialist spinners in Imran Tahir, who is regarded as their first choice, and Aaron Phangiso, who performed well in the South Africa A game against an England XI on Wednesday.

Phangiso was the only one of the three national squad members in the A side who had something to show for his effort in the warm-up match. He took 1 for 29 in four overs while David Miller and Farhaan Behardien scored only 10 and 4 respectively. Du Plessis did not mind too much, saying it was more important for Miller, especially, to get game time after sitting out the ODI series. "Whether you do well or not spending time in the middle is always better than being in the nets," he said.

Both Miller and Behardien are likely to be in South Africa's XI along with allrounders David Wiese and Chris Morris. That may not sound like the strongest middle-order but, given South Africa's history of meltdowns in that department, it does promise some muscle and all four of them were always part of du Plessis' plans.

"I do know what our best team is," he said. "That's the great thing about how our plan has unfolded in the last year-and-a-half. Then we sat down and planned our ideal XV that we would like to go to the World T20, and that was the XV that was on paper at the squad announcement. In that period we experimented, we tried new roles, we tried to see where guys are suited best. In my mind I'm pretty clear what that is."

Now it's about everybody putting those well-thought-out plans into action and that is all du Plessis wants from the next few weeks ahead of the tournament. "I see the next five games, seven if you count the two warm-up games, about giving most of the guys game time," he said. "You can't always guarantee that everyone is going to play. It's just about to get some guys ready and feeling good before that first match starts in the World Cup."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Selvin Gramany on February 19, 2016, 7:05 GMT

    Good thinking from Capt FAF!!! I feel FAF will do well in this w/cup as he is the next best compared to Smith.. Please give JP, Miller & Rilee enough game time so hopefully they can find form before the w/cup. Behardin was good in Ind conditions and think the conditions will suite his batting & bowling well.

  • Madhusudhan on February 19, 2016, 4:08 GMT

    "Preparation is more important than results" - You must be kidding. That too for T20 match. no way. T20 results do not obey any rules or probabilities. It is ever changing. Anybody can win or lose a T20 match. Chris Gayle or Sunil Narine can win a T20 in a matter of few minutes. Winning feeling, Winning habit is important than preparation.

  • Kim on February 18, 2016, 23:48 GMT

    Come on Faf Du Plessis you kidding hey, remember a team that loses knows how to lose, team that wins has the confidence and knows how to win. Stop the pre-excuses and play every game to win.

  • Kim on February 18, 2016, 23:43 GMT

    Du Plessis has little idea about motivation and team confidence making a comment results are not important. If your last 5 games against Federer you get thrashed and not win a set your confidence is low and you will probably lose. If you win one or two of the matches you know you have the game and talent its a new ball game. Du Plessis stop the pre-excuses, get on board with how to motivate and build confidence in people to win.

  • Jay on February 18, 2016, 19:26 GMT

    It's amazing how MS Dhoni's influence has rubbed off on Faf during their time at CSK. While I agree a bit with the importance of preparation to a game of cricket, the result is equally important. After all, we all play to win and not lose. It can be applied to all walks of life. Success is never an option.

  • Pride on February 18, 2016, 17:54 GMT

    If you're selection best T20 team for the Proteas the first names are JP, Faf and Tahir. AB, Miller, Rilee, Quinton, KG are all x-factor players who can win games single-handed. One good thin about this tournament is that we don't go as favorites. Amla can always come if a batsman is injured, he's not the worst T20 player however I don't know why we even have Behardien in the squad. Besides behardien I think everything else is good.

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