Ahead of the first ODI between South Africa and Pakistan on Saturday, South African captain Faf du Plessis said that his side is one that is still trying to find balance and that it will be a challenge to play against a ‘much stronger’ Pakistan side.”We’re a one day side that’s still trying to find that balance in our team,” said du Plessis after South Africa’s training session at St George’s Park. “With Quinny (de Kock) and Dale (Steyn) not here in the first two games, it actually gives us an opportunity to look at what else we need to look at, which is important.

“Pakistan is a very good one day side and probably they would be the first to say that from a performance point of view, their one-day team is much stronger,” added du Plessis. “It will be a nice challenge for us.”

Leading up to the World Cup later this year, South Africa seek to find a reliable all-rounder who can slot into the middle order, and du Plessis said they hope to fill that void by the end of the series.

“It’s an answer that I’m hoping to give to you after this series,” said du Plessis. “We’re hoping that over the next 10 games, over the Sri Lanka series as well, all the allrounders that are there in Andile Phehlukwayo, Wiaan Mulder, Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius, that you’ll at least have one or two of those guys who really put their hand up and shout to the selectors ‘pick me’.”

One bright spot for South Africa has been the form of Rassie van der Dussen, who SA coach Ottis Gibson says has been “knocking on the door” after his performances in the Mzansi Super League. Van der Dussen top-scored in the league with 469 runs at a strike-rate of 138.75.

Du Plessis spoke about him too, saying, “I was impressed with the one or two games he played in the T20 side, but it was just really hard to fit him into the Australia squad. There’s a lot of competition for the batters. There are a lot of options available.

“And then he had a great Mzansi Super League. He’s been knocking on the door very hard, so it’s a great time for him to get an opportunity after all the runs he’s scored.”

The selection of seamer Duanne Olivier for the Pakistan Test series proved to be another positive, who picked up 24 wickets in the three Tests: a South African record against Pakistan.

“From a brains trust point of view, we’re always looking at X-factor players in our bowling attack. So Lungi (Ngidi), Dale (Steyn) and KG (Rabada) are fantastic seamers and they pick themselves, but possibly as one back-up extra seamer, we’ve got some nice pace bowlers in our country. Duanne Olivier is one.

“Even (Anrich) Nortje who bowled really well in the Mzansi league is someone we’re still looking at. (Dane) Paterson is a different kind of a bowler, he’s more of a swing bowler, but that extra bowler, if something were to happen to one of those bowlers at the world cup, if we had someone with a bit of pace, it would be nice,” concluded du Plessis.

First Published: January 19, 2019, 11:46 AM IST