World Cup press-conferences may seem as brutal inquisitions for South African captains. In the 2011 edition, Graeme Smith had wet eyes at Dhaka. And on Tuesday, after leading his side to two defeats in the latest championship’s opening rounds, and then coping with the update on Dale Steyn being ruled out, Faf du Plessis kept grace as his second skin while the queries probed into his squad’s foibles.

The South African skipper said that he has to enhance his men’s confidence: “It’s important to stay strong. The team will feed off my energy and they will look up to the leadership group in the team. But I am at the top of that so it is important that I stay positive.”

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Ruing the absence of Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi, du Plessis said: “We haven't had one game where we have had our strongest 11 playing on the field yet. You still have to make sure your squad is strong and have back-up plans.”

The Proteas leader hoped for a turn-around starting with Wednesday’s game against India: “I said (winning) six games is the target, so with seven games left, it would be great if we can start that (against India).”