'We have what it takes to be better this time'

South Africa's Faf du Plessis during a training session ahead of their first Test against India in Visakhapatnam. PTI

For South African skipper Faf du Plessis, this trip to India is a very important one on many fronts. First, he’ll be determined bury the demons of the 2015 trip when he managed to muster just 60 runs in four matches. Secondly, he’ll be hoping to restore the pride of South Africa, who once revelled in these conditions but looked woefully short of ideas and technique in a 0-3 drubbing the same year.

The skipper admitted this trip will be one of the most challenging ones of his career but is looking forward to it with great hope. Excerpts.

On the lessons learnt from 2015 tour: I think what Test cricket does to you that if there is a flaw in your game, or if there is something that you’re not quite on top of against an opposition, it exposes that in your game. And obviously, the last time we came here as a batting unit, and personally myself, found it very difficult in tough conditions, and it was a fact that I needed to get better from a defensive technical point of view. There was huge value in that tour for me. I think, since that tour I really started playing spin better. My record since then has been a lot better when the ball is spinning, white ball or red ball. So I think all players have to go through tough times to make them better, to make them understand where (are) the central weaknesses in their game, and then either you can disappear or come back stronger as well.

On leading a young and inexperienced squad: As tough as last time was when we were here, the wickets then spun a little bit more than would this series. It was really dry back then, the ball spun a lot. As a batting unit we found it tough, even though we had lots of experience in our team, and now we’ve got a completely different unit. It’s a very, very young-looking batting line-up, so there’s not a lot of baggage that comes with the guys that are on the tour, and they’re also – as most young cricketers are – very motivated and driven to do well in international cricket and this tour will be no different for them.

 

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