20°C / 22°C
  • Sun
  • 15°C
  • 1°C
  • Mon
  • 16°C
  • 1°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 2°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 3°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 1°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 4°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 14°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 11°C
  • Thu
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 17°C
  • 10°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 4°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 3°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 4°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 4°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 1°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 2°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 2°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 1°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • -2°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 4°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 26°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 6°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 17°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Sun
  • 19°C
  • 3°C
  • Mon
  • 14°C
  • 8°C
  • Tue
  • 12°C
  • 7°C
  • Wed
  • 13°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 14°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 7°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 13°C
  • 8°C
  • Wed
  • 14°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 14°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 4°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 3°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 4°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 3°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 4°C
  • Sun
  • 14°C
  • -3°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 2°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 4°C
  • Wed
  • 11°C
  • 2°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • -2°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 1°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 4°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 1°C
  • Tue
  • 26°C
  • 4°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 7°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 5°C
  • Fri
  • 25°C
  • 5°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 4°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 9°C
  • Wed
  • 16°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 17°C
  • 8°C

Expectation manifests in different ways in World Cup opener

It’s not just on the field that captains Faf du Plessis and Eoin Morgan have different waters to navigate. Off the field, particularly in the pre-match press conference in the bowels of the Kennington Oval, both captains are presenting conflicting messages.

Picture: Twitter @OfficialCSA.

LONDON - Tomorrow’s World Cup opener between South Africa and England is a clash of cricketing philosophies. The home side are going to look to outscore their opponents by rolling out six-machine after six-machine. “You score 350, we’ll score 400” seems to be the motto of this boundary-hungry side.

For South Africa, either by design or as a result of the tools available, the approach will be different. They’ll be looking to strangle their opponents and keep things tight. In the face of teams looking to blitzkrieg their way to glory, the Proteas will look to imply the ancient art of war championed by Sun Tzu.

It’s not just on the field that captains Faf du Plessis and Eoin Morgan have different waters to navigate. Off the field, particularly in the pre-match press conference in the bowels of the Kennington Oval, both captains are presenting conflicting messages.

That may have something to do with the questions the gathered journalists posed to the two skippers. Faf du Plessis, settled in his seat on the raised platform first and was all smiles as he downplayed the significance of a sports event.

“I’m no longer desperate,” Du Plessis explained. “I want to win cricket games but I don’t need to win them.”

Morgan, on the other hand, stressed the importance of attaining a piece of silverware that would vindicate the four project he has been a part of since England were dumped out of the last World Cup at the group stage.

“I think we’ll need to win a trophy at some stage,” Morgan said. “When you look at other teams around the world that have constantly competed for World Cups, like Australia and India in particular, they find themselves there all the time and it's not by fluke.”

Morgan’s expression was fixed with a set jaw as he leaned forward in his chair. Du Plessis’ smile was relaxed, leaning back for most of the presser. Morgan was asked whether he thought his side intimidated others. Du Plessis was asked to speak about his side’s approach that has gone under the radar of most pundits. Morgan appeared like a man walking a tightrope the promise of his own destiny at the other end of the chasm. Du Plessis just looked pleased to be there.

“Cricket is a very important aspect of all our lives, but it’s not everything,” Du Plessis mused. “You know, life, there’s a lot more bigger things than winning and losing games of cricket. Being a father now, everything gets put into perspective.”

Not that this tournament is the most important thing in Morgan’s life. Of course, it isn’t. He is recently married himself and the 15 members of his squad are people before they are professional athletes. And yet, both captains are viewing the importance of tomorrow’s curtain raiser through different lenses.

“A win under any circumstance,” is what Morgan is after.

Du Plessis’ summation? “We’ll treat [victory] exactly the same as if we lose tomorrow.”

Pre-match press conferences are mostly filled with platitudes and it is the job of the journalist to stretch a narrative from the few throwaway lines that are offered. One could have easily spun a different tale where Du Plessis appears as the captain hell bent on winning and Morgan as the measured philosopher more concerned with the sound of one hand clapping than the ping of dislodged bails behind him.

Instead, this narrative has been driven by the questions that were sent their way. The South Africans asked the captain of the country’s cricket side about his underdog status, about the lack of depth in his batting and about the concerns over the injury of his most senior strike bowler.

The English press, usually more biting than their counterparts, asked about legacy, about history and about the chance for immortality.

Morgan’s team is driven by expectation. Du Plessis’ is free from it.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus