Australian legend Ian Chappell said that Faf du Plessis’ return to the side was the reason they were able to turn things around in the second Test.
Chappell, now a broadcaster and formerly the Australian Test skipper with 75 caps of experience, is hoping to see some cracks in England’s armoury ahead of the Ashes at the end of the year, and he believes that Proteas captain Du Plessis was able to unearth several of them.
‘One big difference between the first and second Tests was the presence of Faf du Plessis at the helm of the South African side. It’s no coincidence that that resulted in a much-improved performance from the team,’ Chappell said in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
‘Du Plessis is a hard-grafting cricketer, but a natural captain. He impressed with his leadership in South Africa’s series win in Australia, and his firm hand was again evident at Trent Bridge.’
Chappell weighed in on England’s problems, saying that they used their ODI formula too much, which resulted in picking players such as Liam Dawson, who doesn’t offer enough in either discipline. He also mentioned that Joe Root had too much say in the way the team was picked, as his Yorkshire teammate and former roommate Gary Ballance was underwhelming in his return to the Test setup yet again.
Chappell believes that the Proteas got it right in that regard, with Du Plessis bringing his qualities as a leader to the table, without having too much to say about the team that was picked.
‘Good captaincy is hard to define, but you know it when you see it,’ Chappell continued. ‘Sometimes it can be as simple as Du Plessis’ encouragement to Chris Morris: “Bowl as fast as you can and forget about everything else.”
‘This had the desired effect, as following that advice, Morris turned an unimpressive opening spell of three expensive overs into match-changing figures of 5 for 45.’
With the news on Saturday that CSA has made the decision to delay the announcement of the next Proteas coach, Chappell believes that it shouldn’t affect the team too much, as it’s up to the selectors to pick the right team and it’s up to Du Plessis to deliver the goods on the field.
‘It’s notable that South Africa achieved their massive turnaround without a coach, as Russell Domingo had returned home due to the unfortunate death of his mother.
‘The moral of this story? Make sure you appoint the right captain, ensure a strong selection panel and only then worry about finding the appropriate coach,’ Chappell concluded.
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