The calls to drop Proteas captain Faf du Plessis are far-fetched and more leeway should be given as he tries to lead the team to a series win, writes PHILASANDE SIXABA.
Du Plessis’ Test captaincy has been a hot topic of discussion for many cricket fans in the country. Many of those fans have felt that the armband should be removed and, together with that, review his place in the Test side due to a lack of runs recently.
While these sentiments might have some weight, the bottom line is that they are overly far-fetched and do not consider the best interests of the team in the immediacy and context of what needs to happen now.
The call to drop Du Plessis from the Test side does not consider the fact that this side is in its infancy as it goes through a rather disruptive transitional period. The retirements of AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn have left the squad along with their wealth of experience.
Dropping the skipper while the likes of Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje are still wet behind the ears, would undoubtedly do more harm than good. The psyche is already under attack as the side bids to rectify the collective batting frailties at the top of the order.
Du Plessis has not had the best of years with the bat in white clothing for his country – add to that humiliating series defeats by Sri Lanka at home and a 3-0 whitewash by India on the road. His comments around the dropping of Temba Bavuma from the Test team have also not done him any favours in some quarters. His tactics on the fourth morning of the second Test defeat by England in Cape Town – where he chose to persist with the spin of Keshav Maharaj when the new ball was available and with the game still in the balance – further advanced questions around his captaincy.
Despite a wobbly track record, he is still the best leader South Africa has at the moment. Injured opener Aiden Markram has been tipped as a future Test captain for some time now, but he has battled with fitness and form issues himself. He is, after all, not a ‘here-and-now’ solution.
Dropping Du Plessis would only act to further destabilise a side that is trying to rectify recent poor performances and boardroom issues that have sunk the reputation of the national team to arguably its lowest level since readmission.
With a plethora of interim positions at managerial level, it would be absurd really to consider sacking Du Plessis. Why create any further more questions when the new management team is still battling for answers amid trying to settle from the dust of the maladministration storm of the past year?
Cut Du Plessis some slack – he has bounced back with the bat in the past – as he tries to lead the Test side in an important series against a mighty foe. A win here would go an awfully long way to rebuilding the confidence in cricket in South Africa.