Faf du Plessis’ recent form suggests he still has lots to offer the Proteas across all forms, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The former South African skipper is batting well in Centurion, and along with Temba Bavuma, led the Proteas’ recovery on Sunday afternoon with a 22nd Test half-century, his first in this format in more than a year.
When Du Plessis returned from a successful IPL in the UAE, I was adamant that his involvement with the national team should be restricted to limited overs. I even strongly believed he wouldn’t be part of the Test setup again. He hinted at the start of the year that the T20 World Cup, which has since been postponed until next year, would be his last contribution for the Proteas.
I believed he should be allowed to focus on T20 cricket, and that the Test team should then start to identify and groom a new collection of middle-order batsmen to succeed him.
However, on Sunday the 36-year-old showed the same character and grit that has become his trademark as the Proteas edged closer to Sri Lanka’s total.
Granted the visitors’ bowling attack was struggling on a batsman-friendly SuperSport Park pitch. The loss of Kasun Rajitha after only two overs compounded their struggle, but Du Plessis was merciless in his approach.
Sunday’s innings showed he still adds incredible value to this Proteas team, one that is urgently searching for fresh, effective combinations.
Furthermore, Du Plessis’ tactical intelligence and leadership experience will be invaluable to interim captain Quinton de Kock.
Du Plessis was rightfully criticised for his Test form last season. He has started this one in statement fashion. His value can’t be underestimated.