Faf du Plessis said he’s been keeping an eye on some of the Sunfoil Series performers ahead of the three-match Test series against New Zealand.
When chatting to the media, fresh from his record-breaking 185 and his side’s 10th ODI victory in a row, Du Plessis was thrown off balance somewhat when asked if he’d been keeping an eye on the Sunfoil Series – a perfectly good question for someone who has a say in who is selected for the Test squad when the Proteas play New Zealand in a three-match Test series in March.
While he admitted he hasn’t had a chance to see the domestic players in action, he has been keeping an eye on the scores. A number of players have been on a decent run of form, in what is set to be one of the most thrilling ends to a Sunfoil Series season, with five teams still in contention going into the final round.
‘It’s nice to see everyone in the running,’ said Du Plessis. ‘There’s one or two places in the Test team up for grabs, so it’s important to see who’s in form because there’s a really important Test series coming up and there’s a few spots up for grabs.
‘So for me, it’s a matter of checking if those guys are doing what they need to do.’
Should there indeed be places up for grabs, there are a number of strong contenders. Duanne Olivier heads that list after impressing with his Proteas debut in the third Test against Sri Lanka. He’s taken 46 wickets from just seven Sunfoil matches at an average of 18.80. His Knights teammate and skipper Theunis de Bruyn has enjoyed yet another prolific season, scoring 679 runs at 56.58.
Dolphins middle-order batsman Khaya Zondo meanwhile has had a breakthrough season, sitting third in the run-scoring charts with 723 runs at an average of 72.30. Aiden Markram has been excellent at the top of the order for the Titans, scoring 541 runs from just six matches at 60.11.
Turning his attention back to the Proteas, Du Plessis says his side now have that No 1 spot firmly in their sights.
‘5-0 is important now in order to get to No 1,’ he said. ‘For a while we’ve targeted to get back to the top in all formats, and we’re getting there very quickly in all formats. 5-0 will be a massive achievement, it doesn’t matter who you play against.’
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