Faf du Plessis was forced to field questions about his struggling pace star Kagiso Rabada, who has failed to make an impact at the Cricket World Cup.
Much was expected of Rabada, ranked third in the ICC rankings, but his performances have been sadly off the pace. Quite literally, with the quick struggling to reach his usual heights.
‘This is probably his first stumbling block as a great fast bowler, so for him now, it will be how he responds, how he learns in this period and how he makes sure he gets better,’ said the skipper in the wake of the World Cup-ending defeat at Lord’s.
A lack of freshness heading into the showpiece event, overplayed in the buildup and a confidence-knocking start to the World Cup have been offered as part of Rabada’s struggles.
‘I suppose the thing with KG and where a lot of the guys are struggling at the moment is that they haven’t started the tournament well and, therefore, your confidence takes a bit of a hit, and it just rolls on,’ he added.
Du Plessis was left ruing the decision not to rest his 24-year-old kingpin more in the lead-in with IPL duty among the frustrations. His lack of form combined with injuries to Dale Steyn and later Lungi Ngidi forced the weight of seam responsibility on to his normally broad shoulders. This time, down on pace, he has been unable to deliver for his team.
Sunday was the latest example as he went wicketless for 65 runs in his 10 overs. His tournament average stands at a shade over 50 with just six wickets to his name.
‘We did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh,’ Du Plessis said.
‘I spoke about it before the IPL even started, that it’s important that we try and find space to rest our three-format players, because they play all the formats all the time, and then IPL. I don’t think it’s necessarily just the IPL, but it was important for a few guys to rest; and the fact that they didn’t meant that they, you know, they came into the tournament not fresh.
‘That’s not an excuse; that’s just a fact.
‘And with KG, you can see that his pace is probably a little bit down from where he normally is.’