Proteas captain Faf du Plessis will again use the Mzansi Super League as an audition, of sorts, for selection ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Du Plessis observed the country’s talent during the inaugural MSL last year, when players such as batsman Rassie van der Dussen and fast bowler Anrich Nortje impressed – and were selected for the World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Others, like wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, endured a poor MSL campaign in 2018 – and were overlooked for the World Cup.
‘The standard of the MSL is so good. In some cases, it worked positively for players, but in others it worked negatively. Guys who were in form and then didn’t perform in the Mzansi Super League missed out on the World Cup,’ Du Plessis told Sport24.
‘For the fringe players it is an opportunity to say, “pick me, I am smashing down the door”. I used last year almost as a school for me to get to understand all the players in the country. Even when I wasn’t playing against teams, I would watch the other games. I placed a lot of importance in watching some of the guys I haven’t seen a lot of.
‘You’re starting that competition with your eye already on trying to find that group of players for the T20 World Cup.’
The Proteas will host England for a Test series after the Mzansi Super League. England’s arrival will afford South Africa the opportunity to recover from a poor World Cup campaign and Test series whitewash at the hands of India recently.
‘As cricketers we understand our role in the sporting world in South Africa. People in South Africa love sport. In order for them to keep loving sport, we need to do well and play a great brand of cricket and be successful,’ added Du Plessis.