Proteas

Rassie: Proteas feed off Gibson's calming energy

Rassie van der Dussen (Gallo Images)
Rassie van der Dussen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Proteas batsman Rassie van der Dussen believes coach Ottis Gibson's "calming influence" will stand the team in good stead at the Cricket World Cup.

The Proteas enter the showpiece event in England and Wales knowing they have never won cricket’s greatest prize in seven previous attempts since 1992.

But Van der Dussen believes the team will not feel any added pressure at the tournament.

"Ottis Gibson is a very laidback guy most of the time but is professional and methodical when he needs to be. He has a very calming and confident energy about him and the team feeds off that," Van der Dussen told Sport24 in an exclusive interview.

The 30-year-old, who averages 88.25 in nine ODIs, added: "It calms the team down, reassures us and gets us back to what we need to do in the moment. When it’s crunch time you need to be able to stay calm and deliver your best under pressure."

Regarding the Proteas' World Cup hopes, Van der Dussen added that they will aim to channel the spirit of the famous '438' game in 2006 against Australia.

"I remember the famous '438' game in 2006 quite vividly. It was a Sunday and I watched the whole match. As painful as watching Australia’s innings with the bat was, I always felt that the Proteas had something special in them. To be honest, I never really lost hope or thought that we would lose the match. Any South African doesn't like to lose to Australia and the fact that the win clinched the five-match series was special. I sat and watched every ball and now it will be unbelievable to go to the UK and wear the jersey.

"I can tell you that we are going to give every ounce of who we are as players in an attempt to win the 2019 World Cup. There are very few instances, if any, that are bigger and come with the amount of honour and responsibility than being chosen to represent the country that you love on the biggest stage in the world. I know the support from back home will be unbelievable and that is always inspiring for a sportsman in general.

"I am excited for the World Cup. We don't go in as favourites, but you never know what can happen. Late statesman Nelson Mandela once said that 'sport has the power to change the world' and our plan as Proteas is to touch each household and every person in the country. Competing at the World Cup is an opportunity for us, as players, to make the country proud."

South Africa open their account against hosts, England, on May 30 and play their final round-robin fixture against Australia on July 6.

READ Rassie van der Dussen’s full Q&A interview with Sport24

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