Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis believes that T20 cricket is luring a lot of talented cricketers away from the Test match arena.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Proteas’ tour to Sri Lanka (during which his side plays two Tests and six white-ball matches), Du Plessis expressed his appreciation for Test cricket.
‘I hope that Test cricket can still be the main focus point for international cricket. It’s fighting against a very powerful monster in T20 cricket that is taking a lot of players towards T20 cricket,’ said Du Plessis at Cape Town International Airport while waiting for the next flight out to Sri Lanka.
Du Plessis admitted that he is looking forward to the ICC World Test Championship as he believes it will provide a real motivation for players to commit to the red ball.
‘I do think that will be one thing that will help it. It will give Test cricket good purpose and (the chance to play) for something. In one-day cricket there is a World Cup, so that will be a real motivation for guys to stick around and play Test cricket, because it should be like that. Test cricket should always be the number one format of the game,’ said Du Plessis.
Du Plessis’ average in Test cricket is 43.20, and his first-class average is 40.51. In ODIs, his average is higher at 44.68, but it drops to 36.09 in T20Is… although those runs come at a healthy strike rate of 133.22. In five Tests against Sri Lanka, he has averaged 45.25 with a highest score of 80, but his average in Tests in Sri Lanka is lower at 40.75, so he will be focussed on producing with the bat as well as leading his team to Test and white-ball series wins.
Du Plessis’ career has not been built around statistical masterpieces but, rather, it is a testament to his grit and ability to rise to pressure situations. Given the current strength of his side’s batting, he might not have much opportunity to pile on the runs against Sri Lanka in the Tests, although he should be able to improve on his one-day figures in Sri Lanka. In five ODIs in Sri Lanka, he has scored just 57 runs, although his overall one-day average against the Lankans at home and away is an impressive 46.13.
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