Veteran South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis, who is leading his country in a four-match Test series against England at the moment, has been dropped for the three-match ODI series that will follow the long format. However, acting selection convenor Linda Zondi has said that the 35-year-old is still in the Proteas’ scheme of things for white-ball cricket. Du Plessis, who led SA in 39 matches in the 50-over format, has an impressive win percentage of 73.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has been handed the captaincy for the ODI series starting February 4. De Kock has led his country in only two ODIs so far and lost both of them. Du Plessis has indicated at taking retirement from international cricket this year. He has admitted that the fourth Test against England beginning January 24 in Johannesburg will be his last on home soil.
He might be eyeing the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year before taking the final call. Faf du Plessis’ own form with the bat has also been a concern as he has managed only 113 runs in six innings in the ongoing series. South Africa won the first Test in Centurion but lost the next two in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth to trail 1-2 in the contest.
Looking at other options as succession plans
“He hasn’t retired. He is still in our plans, but it is important in terms of succession plans that we look at other options,” Sport24 quoted Zondi as saying. He also said that dropping of du Plessis and pacer Kagiso Rabada, who has been banned from playing the fourth Test after indecent conduct in Port Elizabeth, was more a part of workload management, keeping in mind the T20 World Cup.
Players’ injuries were a major concern for the Proteas in the 50-over World Cup last year and they had to pay the price with a premature exit from the tournament. “It is the same for KG (Rabada). It is about managing workloads and this is an important year for us in T20 cricket with the World Cup coming up towards the end of the year (in Australia in September). It’s just about giving opportunities to other guys,” Zondi added.
Asked about du Plessis’ future and if he has plans to hang up his boots, the official said he would continue to feature in their plans till he himself asks them not to. “At the moment he hasn’t said anything to me,” Zondi stated.
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