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Faf du Plessis will hope to be the captain that brakes the shackles of their infamous ‘chokers’ tag © Getty Images

 

Mirpur: Apr 3, 2014

 

Faf du Plessis, the South African captain has said that his players have to concentrate on the task at hand ahead of their ICC World T20 2014 semi-final against India on Friday. South Africa have been infamously termed as “chokers” as they often fumble in the knock-out games. The last time they won a world event was back in 1998, when they won the ICC Knockout Trophy in Dhaka, which later came to be known as the ICC Champions Trophy.

 

Speaking to the media on the eve of the semi-final, du Plessis was asked whether that victory inspired his side. “I think I was in school, so I was very young. Obviously, watched with a lot of interest over the years. It is irrelevant to be looking at past performances. These T20 tournaments are what you do on the day. It is important as a team for us to go with a fresh mindset,” du Plessis said.

 

When asked whether South Africa feel they are close to history, du Plessis said, “We’ve felt like that a couple of times before. But if you look at it, India have been pretty much regarded as favourites, whereas we played much of the tournament as underdogs. No one really gave us a chance.”

 

Du Plessis is no stranger to quite a few members of the Indian team. He has shared the dressing room at the Chennai Super Kings with MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohit Sharma. Speaking about Dhoni’s captaincy, du Plessis said, “Yeah, I have really enjoyed my time at Chennai. I’ve learnt quite a bit from him as a captain, he is a very good leader. He has had huge success for India and his record speaks for itself. My style of captaincy is complete different to his. But it is nice to play with someone who has been in that role for long.”

 

South Africa have come in from Chittagong, whereas India have been based in Dhaka all along. “Obviously, the wicket to Dhaka is completely different to Chittagong. We played all our games there and India has played all their game here. Definitely from a conditions point of view, they are more used to it than we are,” du Plessis said.

 

On Wednesday, Shane Warne made an appearance at South Africa’s net sessions and also bowled a bit. He was also seen talking to South African leggie Imran Tahir, who was Warne’s teammate at Hampshire a few years ago. “It wasn’t our decision (to invite Warne to the nets). I think Warnie just wanted to come and bowl a bit. It is obviously nice to have him there. He is a fantastic bowler, but we certainly didn’t request him to come and bowl,” du Plessis said.

 

With all the turn in the surface, Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian off-spinner had earlier said that he expects South Africa to play two spinners, with Aaron Phangiso coming in. Du Plessis kept his cards close to his chest and said, “That decision we will make tomorrow. We will decided because there is a game before us, the ladies are playing their semi-final. We will assess how the wicket is playing and if there is excessive spin, we will definitely look at that option.”

 

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details