It's been a tumultuous first 10 days in the tournament for du Plessis. Injuries to his lead fast bowlers, three consecutive losses coupled with the revelation of AB de Villiers' attempted u-turn can have had a severely debilitating effect on a South African captain. Du Plessis though said the "culture" within the team was strong to prevent the widening of the cracks, keeping their campaign still breathing.
"The feeling in the camp is still very strong, you know," he said. "The guys are still enjoying being on tour, enjoying being here. The guys are having fun. It is just performance-wise we haven't put in the performances we need and, generally, I find that when a team starts losing two or three games, it can happen that there's a few cracks that can appear in a team and the blame game can start.
"And I do honestly believe that we have been very far away from that. That is a strong sign of us as a team, as a culture, and that is one aspect of performance. You get culture and then you get the actual performance on the field."
The team was happy to get on with business
The South African captain acknowledged that news of de Villiers offering to come out of retirement shook the team at first but also had the added effect of unifying the squad and giving a sense of direction to the team. "I think a little bit of both. I think to say no, it didn't, or to say yes, it did, unites us as a team. We do feel like the news came in and like went through the team," du Plessis said.
"It didn't have a huge impact. There was just a discussion on clarity and on making sure everyone knows what's going on and then it was moving on. The team was happy to get on with business. But it is stuff like that, generally you feel like it can make you, give you direction in your team and give you purpose to focus on what lies ahead."
Du Plessis revealed his version on the timelines of de Villiers's request of wanting to be part of the team's World Cup plans. De Villiers rang the captain with his plea on April 24, the night before the squad announcement and after the squad had been picked in consultation with captain du Plessis. "He didn't come to me. It was just a conversation, a phone call the night before the team got announced. It was just a "This is what I'm feeling."
"I said to him, "I think it is too late but I will check in with the coach and the selectors the next morning to get their opinion on it as the squad was already announced or picked." But that day there was the announcement. When I spoke to the coach and the selectors the next day, they all agreed that it was way, way too late to change the team on 99.99 (percent)."