SA must turn pressure into source of energy at T20 World Cup, says Fortuin
As the Proteas edge closer to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman later in October, left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin has accepted that he is feeling the pressure.
The Proteas, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, will remain in quarantine until Monday and then begin the final stage of their preparations for the tournament from October 23 to November 14.
Before they take on Australia in the opening match of the tournament in Abu Dhabi on October 23, the Proteas will play two practice matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan, on October 18 and 20.
“There is definitely pressure, but that is always going to be the case,” said Fortuin. “Whether we won the World Cup before or not, there was always going to be expectations on our shoulders because people back home expect things from us all the time.
“We must make sure we embrace that pressure and use it as a source of energy, and as the driving force. We just have to make sure we handle the big moments well as a team. We must face high-pressure situations as a unit, because it is not just about the individual who can stand up, but it is about the team.”
Fortuin said that when the Proteas come out of quarantine next week, they will focus on their preparations and try to adapt to the searing heat of the Arabian Peninsula.
“I have asked myself how we are going to play cricket in this heat, because this is something I have never experienced before. It is just gone past 11am and it feels like it has been baking outside for hours.
“The heat is going to be a huge challenge, but everything we need is available for us to succeed. It is just about getting our minds right, but the weather is going to be part of those challenges.
“Physical and mental preparedness go hand in hand because without mental strength the physical is useless and it is the same thing vice versa. It is a long time before we play our first game, so the big thing is to make sure we peak at the right time.
“We have a couple of warm-up games, but we have to make sure we are in the right space to hit the ground running.”
Fortuin said they must be ready to play against all the big teams. “There is extra motivation whenever you play against these big teams. There are about six or seven teams that could win the tournament and we have to be ready for each of them.”