Faf du Plessis, who had a memorable IPL 2021, revealed that he was stirred by the determination to prove Cricket South Africa wrong following his omission from the squad for the T20 World Cup.
Du Plessis scored 633 runs in this year’s Indian Premier League ending two runs behind Orange Cap winner Ruturaj Gaikwad in the top run-scorers list. He played a big role in Chennai Super Kings winning their fourth IPL title, but his feats in the event weren’t enough to earn him a spot in South Africa’s T20 World Cup squad. Du Plessis talks about the added motivation to prove his board wrong in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders, which came after the opener faced a rare failure in the semi-final of the edition, where he was out for just one.
Speaking to Paddy Upton on the Lessons from the World’s Best podcast, du Plessis discussed his mindset heading into the final, explaining how he kept quiet the “negative voice” inside his head.
“I have a good batting voice and a bad batting voice. To give you a practical example of this voice, in this last IPL, I had a fantastic IPL, to the point where the goals I set for myself, which were to be in the top three [run-scorers] right from the beginning, I got along to this goal pretty well. But, through the process of this, there’s this positive and negative voice. To reference one such incident, I’m in the race, but in the semi-final, I get one and everyone shoots past me, and then I’m sitting at number six.
“So, we win the game and go into the final. It’s a big game, and this negative voice goes, ‘no, you’re not making it, they’re too far away. Actually, you know what, you’re a little bit out of form, I don’t know how you will get runs in the final. Oh, it’s a big game, you got one in the last game’. This voice tells me a failure.”
He went on to state how he overcame the mental demons as he had a point to prove to Cricket South Africa.
“I would have [listened to the negative voice] in the past, but then this positive voice goes, ‘Top three is your goal. You play your best when it’s high-pressure. You’re Mr. Dependable. When pressure is at the highest, that’s you. Ok, what do you need? 40 runs to get into the top three, well, no, I’ll make 83 runs to be number one. I want that Orange Cap.’ Also, I want to go, ‘Cricket South Africa, I just want to show you how good I am still if you have forgotten it.’”
Du Plessis had a memorable final, smashing 86 in 59 balls with the help of seven fours and three sixes, to help his team score 192-3, which proved to be 27 runs far too many for KKR.
“Amazingly that final went exactly how I visualised it in my head, thought about it in my head, and spoke about it in my diary,” concluded du Plessis.