Ahead of the first Twenty-20 internationals against India in Johannesburg, South Africa’s stand-in T20I skipper JP Duminy has said that the 1-5 ODI series loss against India was a reality check for the Proteas. Duminy feels they are far from a finished article going into the 2019 World Cup in England.
"Yes, it has been a dismal one-day series for us where India have outplayed us. That's something that we will have to take on the chin and realize that we are far from a finished article going into the World Cup a year from now,” Duminy said according to PTI on the eve of the first T20I.
"I think it's a great reality check for us. It is about each and every player seeing themselves in the mirror and how they can improve, to try and stake a claim for that 15-man squad in a year's time," he added.
After being outclassed in one-dayers, South Africa have brought in quite a few new faces in their T20I squad. No wonder, Duminy feels that fresh faces with an aggressive mindset in a new format will give India a run of their money in the three-match T20I series.
"I think the new faces will help. It is something that we spoke about this morning that we will feed off the freshness of new faces around. The format is different. It is a quicker and more aggressive format. And it will naturally bring out the best in us.
"I am excited to be able to lead. I think leadership naturally brings out the best in me and I enjoy the experience of leading people. I am quite excited by it," said Duminy.
The Proteas T20I skipper also cited the example of rain-curtailed Pink ODI that the home team had won against India last week.
"If I look at Pink Day's shortened game, the platform was set for almost T20 style of play. I think that type of mindset brought out the best in us. So I am quite excited to see how we go about it in terms of this format now," said Duminy.
"Irrespective of who we come up against, I still believe that with new faces around plus guys who have been in the ODI series, it is a squad that can definitely win the series. So the aim is to always compete and win the series, no matter who we come up against," he elaborated.
South Africa have opted to rest many of their leading batsmen and bowlers for this T20I series. However, the batting maverick AB de Villiers is still available and the hosts will count on him to produce the goods.
De Villiers returned from a finger injury to play in the second half of the ODI series but in three matches, he only managed 62 runs and Duminy hoped for a better show from the ace batsman.
"AB is not a backup player in this squad. He is there to start, and is obviously a key player for us. So we are going to need him to fire on all cylinders," he said.
"I think the standard he sets for himself is high. He prides himself on his performances and he will no doubt be hungry to put in a big performance for the team. So I expect nothing less from him as much as he expects nothing less from himself," Duminy concluded.
(With PTI inputs)