South African captain Faf du Plessis has said that the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka is a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters in his side to step up and stake a claim to be given a regular place in the side with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 less than a year away.
Faf reiterated that the 5-match ODI series will help his side to play combinations and give promising players in the setup a chance to audition for slots while gaining valuable experience.
Ahead of the first ODI, Du Plessis said, "We will try and give everyone a game if possible, Once again it comes down to the combinations of our team and trying to find the best balance. It was nice for me to see a few guys put their hands up in the warm-up game.
"For me the opportunity to learn is the most exciting thing. I personally don't look at winning the next few series as the be-all and end-all. It is trying to find out how we can give guys opportunities, how they can learn, how they can get experience and what they can learn from different scenarios. That will aid us and make us stronger to where we want to be in a year's time,"
It was the spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav that played a huge role in their last ODI series and even though, Faf thinks, the ball won't turn much like it did in Test matches, South Africa must still be wary of the opposition spinners.
He said, "The Sri Lankan team will still have good spinners, that won't go away. I think it's exciting, especially having a young team here. There are guys playing in these conditions for the first time, that excites me. It's about them experiencing the conditions for themselves and figuring out a way of playing against the spinners. Whether it's by making mistakes or doing well, that is okay, it is about learning."
"A tour like this, all we are trying to do is to make sure we can get better as team in a year's time, that is how I see the next three of four months unfolding. As a one-day team it is about identifying the areas where we can get better, and spin is one of those areas. How we learn to deal with that is the challenge over the next few months,"
The five match ODI series starts with the first game in Dambulla on Sunday, July 29.
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)