Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, says that JP Duminy has been dropped for inconsistent performances.
Du Plessis had to witness his side suffer a 211-run defeat at Lord’s from the stands, but his return has seen massive changes to the side ahead of the second Test at Trent Bridge.
The return of Du Plessis means that Duanne Olivier will be replacing the suspended Kagiso Rabada, while JP Duminy has been left out of the side for either the extra batsman or seamer.
‘It was difficult because I know what he brings to the team away from his runs,’ Du Plessis said about dropping Duminy.
‘He will be the first guy to acknowledge that runs are what guarantee you to play in the team, your performances. His performances haven’t been consistent enough, so we will be giving someone else an opportunity.’
Olivier, however, made an impressive debut against Sri Lanka last year, taking match figures of five for 57 in the innings and 118-run win at the Wanderers Stadium. And with Rabada missing out, the 25-year-old will have big shoes to fill.
Du Plessis’ men will need to draw from their experiences in previous difficult situations to bounce back.
According to the skipper, the Proteas will face a ‘big character test’, given some of the off and on-field challenges the squad has faced this week.
One of Du Plessis’ strengths as captain has been his ability to lead from the front, a characteristic that has shone through during challenging periods he has faced throughout his tenure.
‘It feels like a normal game for me,’ he said at Trent Bridge on his birthday on Thursday.
‘I felt that this week it was required of me to lead the team the way that I have been doing [in the past].
‘The stuff that I have been saying hasn’t been different to before, the stuff that we have been doing is not anything different.
‘For me, it’s about making the players understand that they can trust the processes that we have been doing over the last while, we have been successful in Test cricket.
‘We understand where we made mistakes in the first game, it’s now up to us how we respond to that. It will be a big character test for us, how we respond to the challenges.
‘There are a lot of references I can take; there was the Australia series, which had a lot of tests for us as a team and we stood up to that. It’s about knowing that we can do it, and doing it in this next match.’