Lots of things haunting me at the moment - Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis takes part in a fielding drill Getty Images

"There are a lot of things haunting me at the moment," laughs Faf du Plessis, on the eve of an important match against India. "The position that I'm in is, I'm the captain of the team right now and players are looking for someone to lead them. So all I can do is try my absolute best to try and do that."

Less than a week into this World Cup, du Plessis is facing as difficult a road to the knockouts as any South Africa captain has ever had to contend with at a global tournament. Not only have his team lost their first two matches - the second against an opposition they were expected to beat - they've also now been ravaged by injuries to their fast bowling battery.

A month ago, South Africa might even have fairly claimed to have the best pace attack going into the World Cup. Aside from Kagiso Rabada, ranked 4th in ODIs, they had Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Andlie Phehluhkwayo and Anrich Nortje in their ranks. Two matches in, three of those bowlers are unavailable - Steyn and Nortje ruled out of the tournament, while Ngidi is out for about 10 days with a hamstring strain. All that remain to South Africa is a skeleton crew. Turning their campaign around from here will take substantial mental strength - something South Africa aren't exactly known for at major tournaments.

"The natural thing that happens in a team like this, is you find that your confidence goes down," du Plessis said ahead of the match against India. "Naturally, younger guys in the team coming to their first World Cup - they will potentially go into their self-pity cycle.

"But that that won't be allowed over the next couple of days. It is important for us to stay strong at this time. If you do slightly go away from that, then as a team you can crumble. Unfortunately, we are not in a position where we can afford that.

"We can't control results. We can't control the outcome of the game. What we can control is how strong we are mentally. How well we are training. What sort of language are we using in the dressing room. Is it positive? For me, that was the main focus - making sure that the guys are still saying the right things in the team, and not questioning themselves, because then it's a slippery slope. Then you just keep going further and further backwards."

With their fast-bowling strength now partially nullified, South Africa have to scramble together a new strategy. Chris Morris had already replaced Nortje in the squad, and they also have Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwayne Pretorius in their ranks. Allrounders may have to come into focus.

"As you can see right now, there is a plan in place for the worst case scenario, which is losing our bowling attack, Now you have to go back to your all-rounders, which we felt has been our strategy in the past.

"The last time we came here - to the previous Champions' Trophy - we had a lot of all-rounders. Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris - guys like that. So we batted down to seven, eight, nine. So we are back to that now. We have a lot of all-rounders and not a lot of specialists. So I think we have planned for it."