Former South African captain Faf du Plessis has picked his favourites for the upcoming World Cup in India, which is set to begin on October 5. He believes that India and Australia will be the favourites to win the tournament.
South Africa has a strong side, but it will be challenging to surpass a team like India, especially in their home conditions. India has won the 50-over World Cup twice, in 1983 and 2011. In his discussion with the ICC leading up to the main event, Du Plessis expressed his belief that the home conditions and historical factors could work in favour of both the Men in Blue and the Aussies.
“I think South Africa has got a really good side. It will be hard to get past a team like India in home conditions. The other team you can never write off is Australia, with them being so successful in ICC events,” said Faf du Plessis.
The South African captain in the 2019 World Cup also expressed strong confidence in his team’s chances in the upcoming edition.
“South Africa’s white-ball team is in a strong place. They’ve got some real experience going into that World Cup,” added Faf.
South Africa, who were previously considered one of the top contenders for the World Cup, had to fight to qualify for the 2023 tournament. They secured their spot by winning a 2-0 series against the Netherlands earlier this year. They secured their spot by winning a 2-0 series against the Netherlands earlier this year. Despite having stronger teams in the past, they have never reached a final and struggled to perform their best in World Cups.
However, they have had success in India, winning a series in 2015/16 and narrowly losing another in 2022. The Proteas will begin their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in Delhi on October 7th.
“Always the challenge of going to the subcontinent for all the non-subcontinental teams” – Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis further emphasized that playing 50-over cricket in subcontinent conditions presents the ultimate challenge for teams from outside the subcontinent. He highlighted the significant differences in pitches between T20s and ODIs in Asian conditions, with spin playing a crucial role in the longer format.
The last ODI World Cup played in the subcontinent was in 2011, and three out of the four semifinalists were Asian teams – India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, with New Zealand being the only non-Asian team.
“The challenge for all teams that are not from the subcontinent is obviously always the challenge of going to the subcontinent. Especially 50-over cricket. I find with T20 cricket, the surfaces are a bit more even. And you get some really good pitches. With 50-over cricket, you can get that wear and tear and the spinners really come into their own,” said Faf du Plessis.
England will enter the World Cup as the defending champions after their memorable victory over New Zealand in the 2019 final at home. The tournament opener will feature England and New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5th.
Meanwhile, Team India will play their opening game against Australia in Chennai on October 8th.