The Proteas won’t be really living in the moment when they played one-day cricket for the next few months.
With the build-up towards next year’s World Cup in England now beginning in earnest, Ottis Gibson and his charges are willing to sacrifice results (to an extent) to build depth for the showpiece.
Captain Faf du Plessis makes no secret of that fact.
“I think our mindset has changed. We have always been focussed on the now, and when you get to the big tournament, that becomes your focus as well,” he said on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s first ODI against India in Durban.
“I feel this is the first time when we have really taken a small step into the now and a bigger step into the future where every conversation we have as a selection panel, captain or coach, is about how we could have a look at more players.”
It sounds weird for a man who’s experienced some pronounced ups-and-downs with the Proteas in white ball cricket but Du Plessis really did play much of his cricket in an era where the focus was on retaining the experienced core of the side.
“Personally I haven’t been involved in a vision like that. Obviously the now is very important and we play series to win series, but there’s a big focus on how we could give guys a lot of opportunity,” he said.
“Because in a year or so from now you want to make sure that there is a group of guys that has spent time in the middle in pressure situations, so you don’t just hope that your eleven is settled.”
Gibson and co will already be forced to fill one future vacancy with Aiden Markram coming in for the injured AB de Villiers at No 4.
Markram is an opener in Test cricket.
“We’re giving him an opportunity to bat in different places in the batting order because I feel it’s a great way to evolve your own game and learn in difficult situations and times in ODI cricket,” said Du Plessis.